[image and source of story from THE NUT GRAPH].

And not just his ideas. He suffered jail under the draconian ISA for 17 years under the dictator Lee Kuan Yew down South. If he had been PM, Singapore would have been very, very different now.

That’s what someone said at Said Zahari’s book launch I attended years ago in Universiti Malaya. I have read his book DARK CLOUDS at DAWN. It was an honest, heart-felt and wonderful rendition of one man’s struggle as a journalist and politician.

A recommended reading for those who have not read his book. I must get his second book, THE LONG NIGHTMARE.  Said Zahari writes nice poems for his wife too, whom he missed very much during his years of incarceration.

Indeed Said Zahari is an inspiration to all. His progressive and multi-racial perspective is comforting and relevant to this day. Although advance in age, he is much much more progressive and modern thinking than many around us today!

I must thank The Nut Graph for giving us this interview, quite relevant to the times as well. Read it and hear his thoughts on Ketuanan Melayu, journalism, multi-culturalism, and the ISA.

And what does he think of UTUSAN MALAYSIA, the hater of Malaysian Chinese or all things Chinese?

This is what happens when a small group of people manipulate the news, and make use of the name “Melayu”. People don’t discuss the real issue itself. It’s as simple as that.

The Pakatan Rakyat need to do more than boycott Utusan. Particularly, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and PAS should go around to the people, to the grassroots, to explain that to play communal and religious issues will not solve the country’s problems.

Wish the UTUSAN/government controlled journalists (past and present) can go back to school with Said Zahari as their master.

The struggle for press freedom would have been truly, truly different then.

God bless you, Said Zahari. Malaysia needs more sons and daughters like you.


28 responses »

  1. fukonima says:

    Susan, well said and I salute Said Zahari for his sincere words and kind thoughts.

    Utusan is the main tool used to disintegrate the harmony and unity of all Bolehlanders.

    Extremists and evil power brokers from the racist party who messed up this country for the past 50 years are the sole master minds.

    If Utusan were to continue playing with fire, this Bolehland’s resources would be fully exhausted (slip into the pockets of these evil executives and power brokers and their cronies) and become a mere tundra or another Kalahari for the next generation to come.

  2. monsterball says:

    Two Dictators…with close relatives living across the river.
    One is an honest uncorrupted Dictator…that no matter what he had done before….for personal benefits or for the country..he is still respected and love by so many in Singapore.
    He is 100% Mr. CLEAN…as he will sue anyone..trying to defame him.
    Just look at our Dictator…Mahathir …..totally different.
    No need to explain.
    Only a handful of his own race and cronies respect him.
    One is world respected throughout the world.. and back in S’pore…treated as the Grand Old man.
    Ours is a laughing clown to the whole world and a pain in the arse with his non stop nonsense.
    But most of all….I wonder why..UMNO Ministers feel no shame at all.

  3. wits0 says:

    “The Pakatan Rakyat need to do more than boycott Utusan. ”

    Surfers also should individually improve their discerning ability to determine what bloggers are sowing subtle deceit in indirect support of the toilet papers and media that props up devious umno.

  4. Jed Yoong says:

    Tks for sharing.
    Am really disturbed by the Baginda press conference.
    Can of worms.
    Answers few questions.
    Except maybe let him let go his angst towards “bloggers”.
    How can he compare developed countries like UK with Msia?
    In the UK, the press is relatively free. Much freer than Malaysia.

  5. Eagle says:

    For as long as the people are not willing to fight, the situation will remain status quo. The idiots will continue to think they are doing the rakyats a big favor.
    Malaysia will not progress until there is a government change over and a major overhaul is required.
    It is real as what was said by Said Zahari that PKR and PAS have to double their effort to convince the Malays. That is the key area for change and as long as DAP can maintain the strong support all round, the hope for change can be in sight very soon.
    Nothing is impossible!!! GOD willing it will happen as long as we work for it.

  6. […] Nutgraph via Susan Loone: When I took over the editorship from Yusof Ishak, Utusan played our role in serving the Malays. But […]

  7. setia says:

    Said Zahari would have been an ideal choice as PM Singapore.He has a practical ,fair and well balanced mind about nation building.

  8. ylcw says:

    Hi Susan,
    I enjoy reading your write-ups … you really speak your mind! We should have more vocal critics like you.
    I have close families from both sides, and am putting my two cents worth of opinion here.
    Yes, Said Zahari would have been an ideal choice as PM for Singapore (I have many Malay friends like him – gentle, kind, welcoming, polite, non-racist) … and I totally agree Singapore would be DIFFERENT today! Said Zahari, as a nationalist, would have been against the separation of the two nations, which meant Singapore would still be in the clutches of UMNO. Mahathir would have also put him (plus LKY) in ISA! So either way, he loses. Honestly, Singapore is now more law abiding with ISA , and uses it only on subjects, like Mat Selamat. Even then, the detention barrack looks so decent and lax that he escaped – RPK would not have any complaints in this camp resort (I personally am against ISA and wear RPK shirts). LKY was and is still considered a dictator, but Singaporeans respect him for his intelligence, credibility, oratical skills, remarkable foresight, statesmanship and astute leadership. What he lacks in humane aspects (reminds me of the older generation who think it a sin to show love to children, and whacking you for our own good !), he makes it up with the above qualities. Singapore owes the divorce with UMNO to him, Goh Keng Swee, Rajaratnam, Yusof Ishak, Toh Chin Chye, etc. The present cabinet consist mainly of scholars. I cringe each time our UMNO leaders speak on BBC, ABC … We cannot totally ignore Mahathir for his achievements in building up Malaysia, albeit in a less respected way! More appropriate would be to say “if Said Zahari were to be PM in Malaysia – would Malaysia be different today?”

  9. chris chong says:

    before he has tasted the power…

  10. alrawa says:

    What is this good dictator/bad dictator craps about!

  11. like how, backwater island and hoping to remerge with mainland ? if sgpura ruled by him, who knows sgpura would be another ketuanan melayu island…..

  12. pragmatic says:

    I am quite sick and tired of all this talk and complaints about the need for greater democracy. Having visited other countries in the region, and seeing that they are far out pacing us in terms of economic development, and us falling behind and I mean big time. I realize that Malaysians, not just UMNO are living in a fantasy world where they think that we are already so rich that we can afford full democracy. HELLO EVERYONE, we are still a developing countries. As developing countries we need strong leadership (dictator or not) to develop the country and catch up to our neighbors. WAKE UP and smell the coffee. Singapore, yeah yeah dictatorship. Vietnam clearly dictatorship. Soon countries like laos and cambodia will move up. And we’ll still be bitchin about more feedoms with an empty stomach. My suggestion…shut up and get to work. Thats how you become successful. learn how the world works. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS DEMOCRACY. US is an INDUSTRIAL MILITARY COMPLEX governed but PLUTOCRATS.

  13. Here is a Malay we should all be proud of, not like the Indian Mahathir.
    Malay readers please do not ever claim the low cast Indian is, because he is not !!
    Malaysia would and will be a much better place under the sun without the low cast Indian Mahathir , that was one of the several reasons he ‘became’ a Malay.
    Not to mention the atrocities he committed and the billions he took now he wants his son to continue his corruption and atrocities.
    May be soon he and his children might revert back to become Indians as Indian is a giant in Asia now.
    They might put him and his children in the rocket and send them to the moon and do not please, please, bring them back at any cost. We and most Malaysians won’t miss them at all and will thank you for that.

  14. ylcw says:

    Hi Susan,
    Jed Yoong jolted my memory. Can you pse verify this?

    “In Sept 1952…. Yusof Ishak, owner, editor-in-chief and MD of the Utusan Melayu came to see me… his chief sub-editor, Samad Ismail, had been held with other subversives on St John’s Island since his arrest in Jan 1951, … Would I represent him?

    But Samad’s case was not a matter of law. It was a political action by a colonial admin threatened by a communist armed insurrection, and under growing pressure from nationalist demands for independence. The best approach was to persuade the govt. that this particular detainee was probably a nationalist who would eventually become an adversary if not an enemy of the communists, even though he might be going along with them for the time being. I decided to take the case …..

    ….. I decided to call on the Special Branch officer (Supt. Richard Byrne Corridon) responsible to find out the real position of my client, and what they had against him …. He said Samad was a bright Malay, very active, a first-classs operator. I asked him if he was a communist. He said, “The most brillianct communist I know ….. but people grow up and their minds change with experience. Work on him. He is worth saving.”

    …. He smoked incessantly and seemed highly strung. He appeared skeptical about his prospects of release before an advisory committee consisting of a high court judge with two lay assessors. I told him it depended on whether Special Branch believed he would continue to be a communist, in which case he would probably be detained again and again. But if after his release he operated as a nationalist, they were likely to leave him alone …..The judge listened to my submission that he was basicallyan anti-colonialist and a Malay nationalist …. In April 1953 he and a few other detainees were released, among them C.V. Devan Nair.

    ….. When Razak was PM, Samad had worked his way into UMNO and become a powerful figure in the NST and Berita Harian, bldg up a coterie of supporters. Hussein Onn agreed this was a danger but said that the communists and student radicals cld not be arrested without upsetting the Malay ground. Later, in June 1976, the ISD arrested one of Samad’s disciples in Spore, Hussein Jahidin, a Berita Harian editor. He implicated Samad and several other Malay journalists in KL as pro-communits. The Msian Special Branch arrested Samad and his communists. Hussein Onn had had the courage to act agst a rpo-communist Malay intelligentsia although this was likely to cost him some support … ”

    From the Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew

  15. JNN says:

    Why the heck is the Pakatan not being serious about boycotting Utusan…go all out to destroy this paper…..the problem with the PR is FOLLOW UP !!!!!!!

  16. ylcw says:

    Sorry … Susan … are Samad Ismail and Said Zahari connected in any way?

  17. ylcw says:

    Thanks, Susan. Reading increases my knowledge, and at least I see the connection from here.

  18. casper says:

    Wonderful insight, news like this can only go towards expanding the horizons of many that need it in M’sia. Even if the many don’t read the book, at least they may start to question the paradox between that of an ‘anak jati’ S’pura and one north of the Lion City.

  19. ylcw says:

    Susan, I hate to take up so much of your space and time … but I forgot to mention something else … I guess you were not born then. Those were trying times … we were drilled in school against attacks from Indonesia and a fear of communism was instilled in us. I was in Johor Bahru at that time. One day a Malay sundry owner in my neighbourhood was arrested in the middle of the night… I asked my parents what happened to my ‘Malay uncle”? They replied that he was arrested as a suspected communist. After 3 yrs, I heard from his children that he had passed away in the detention camp … I am sure there are many sad stories like this. Similar to Said Zahari, I remembered him to be nice, kind and helpful to everyone.

  20. ylcw says:

    Hi Susan, starting to read Said Zahari’s works. Good to see the picture from boths sides. Thanks for the intro.

  21. ibnhamzah says:

    hi Susan,good briefs on Said Zahari.Not to mention the late Samad Ismail.Reading in history these two played very active roles in development of the Malays then n Malaya/Malaysia but never in their writings have i seen bringing down Chinese nor Indians.Both worked for the Malays to be of economic strength as the Chinese.First read about them in te 70s,junior Secondary,but got to learn more from relatives in Spore n Brunei.Have read ‘Dark Clouds at Dawn’ n will definitely buy’The Long Nightmare.’

  22. Nice blog mate 🙂

  23. […] A beautiful man, with beautiful ideas « *SUSAN LOONE’s Blog* […]

  24. Bola Hangus says:

    alrawa, good dictator and bad dictator in their eyes boils down to race. If youre a chink then its ok but if youre a malay then everything you do is bad. Why dont these people go down south if they love it so much? Why stick around in misery.

    IMO, Only 2 types of ungrateful exploiters in this land.1- The one who cant make it anywhere else and just talk cock. 2- The one that make more money here.

  25. secondhome says:

    Why dont these people go down south if they love it so much? Why stick around in misery.

  26. Only 2 types of ungrateful exploiters in this land

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