ST’s report set readers believing Wan Azizah made racist remarks on appointment of Malaysia’s Finance Minister

The Straits Times (ST) reported yesterday (14 May) that cracks had appeared in the ‘hastily put-together’ Pakatan Harapan (PH) alliance. Based on a PH source, it wrote that Wan Azizah had wanted the finance portfolio for PKR. The source also claimed Wan Azizah had said a Chinese should not take the post.

ST in its article, claimed that Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Deputy Premier and president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) – the party that holds most parliamentary seats in the coalition– also demanded other senior portfolios for the party. This included the coveted finance portfolio, which Tun Dr Mahathir has announced in a press conference on Saturday, would go to Democratic Action Party (DAP) secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.

"She did not question Guan Eng's capability, but said that a Chinese should not take the role," the PH leader said according to ST.

Following the ST report, Free Malaysia Today (FMT) produced a counter-report, writing that a senior PKR leader dismissed claims that Wan Azizah Wan Ismail had not wanted an ethnic Chinese to be the finance minister. The leader who declined to be named said PKR was the only truly multiracial party, as could be seen in its leadership composition.

The leader was quoted to say, “We strongly believe that the finance portfolio must be based on ability,” the leader said, adding that PKR believed Lim, an accountant by training, was suitably qualified for the post."

“But we don’t appreciate the narrative and claims being made against PKR, painting us as troublemakers.

“We believe this report is part of a concerted attempt to drive a wedge between PKR and the people, and PH, to push us out of the pact.”

As of time of publishig this post, there is no update or new report on the denial mentioned in FMT's report by ST.

A number of readers took what was said in the ST report as fact, criticizing Dr Wan Azizah for her alleged racist comments:

Chris Tang wrote: "Wan Aziza you better be wise to leave the shots to Mahathir , without him you wouldn't be DPM today and Anwar early release from prison! Stop being racist!"

Michelle Tan wrote: "Obviously Dr Wan Azizah is unwise (even if it had been ingrained in the mind) to comment on the race of the finance minister. 😧😧 Before things could take shape, she is already cracking the ground doubting other races who would be holding a ministry position. If she cannot accept other races to make contribution to the country, then is she able to convince/prove to the countrymen that her race is "more" credible, capable, responsible and trustworthy."

Deborah Lau wrote: "If the race card is being played, then a sexist card should also be played that a female should not be in politics. A hard won fight and now regression? Please don't..."

Chan Chee Kheong wrote: "Stunned by her racist nature...she should go and let Anwar comes into the cabinet. Shocked by her mindset."

Wan Quan Terry Chia wrote: "Why Chinese cannot be finance minister? Why stereotype against Chinese? Carry on with this racism mindset, I see how far you can go in life."

Fongi Chen wrote: "This azizah need to wake up. msians vote for PH to see improvement in msia and you are now thinking for your own(party) good. Wah liao..no wonder people say politics who win also same . Hope dr M can stop all these nonsense or msians suffer again."

Tay Chang Mong wrote: "new wine - old mindset bottle! - new one malaysia forever has no hope! - wtf this woman looks ahead n sees a chinese fm..... not a fellow Malaysian??"

Wie Lim A wrote: "Chinese should not take that role? Back to square one. Can’t believe it is from such a smart and educated person. A good ‘two day’ celebration for the victory."

While a number of readers reacted to the news by commenting that ST is reporting a lie and causing disharmony to Malaysia:

Kenny Khoo wrote: ST, where you get the source?! Don't try to mislead reader by sparking unnecessary disharmony! Later Kak Wan come to Singapore with rotan whack kau your ass like she whack Rafizi for not being quiet in the class!

Bernard Lee wrote: Without sources, this article is as credible as articles that claims >90% of survey respondents are happy with MRT performance or support a GST hike

Wong Yking wrote: Be careful...ST try to create trouble to Malaysia..just treat those news from ST are fake news...154th media sure produce fake news..

Mumtaz Mohamed wrote: Dr WanAzizah looks like a Chinese Muslim.. I'm sure she is of Chinese descent. I hope this news is not true. I don't believe that she will be racist towards her own ancestors' race.. Furthermore, isn't it her husband, Datok Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who has been standing up for racial unity all these years?

Edwan Shah wrote: "Chinese should not take the role." Seriously ST???🤦

Bernard Tan wrote: According to sources from others that a lot of straits times sources r not being verify. Just trigger happy only to stir the soup become tasteless.

Jiachi Tan wrote: Hey straits times, I don't know where you get your source from but if I am not wrong, both Anwar Ibrahim and the main account of PKR have responded by saying they respect the decision of Tun M with Nurul Izzah Anwar agreeing with her father. Please check your source before publishing such provoking news. Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail

Daniel Lee wrote: Why is ST coming up with such news? What was alleged that Wan Azizah said about Guan Eng seems to be very out of character for her. So is ST making things up or do they have an actual source?

Sukhdev Singh Gill wrote: The Straits Times should write on positive ways to enhance relations between Malaysia 🇲🇾 and Singapore 🇸🇬 instead of talking about such matters that can be better handled by the leaders of the Alliance. There are so many issues that can come up as suggestions. Please be responsible and have articles that attract readership and not repel readers.

Terry Terence wrote: Ho Bullshit, which PKR leader said Finance shouldn't go to Chinese. Playing racial sentiments. Straits Times is still campaigning for UMNO?

Au Kah Kay wrote: ST: You should not be publishing unverified news like this. We all know that PAP is more comfortable with the previous BN government but this piece of unverified news is trying to sow discord which neither benefits Singapore nor Malaysia.

Paul Antony Fernandez wrote: If the source is reliable and truthful then why when PM Tun Dr Mahatir announced the 3 keys posts in the Govt DPM Wan Azizah was beside him. I watched the Press Conference

Ambiga Balasubramaniam wrote: Please check your facts, don’t stir up stories to increase your reader toll The Straits Times. There are so many other bona fide things you could have highlighted that’s currently taking place in Malaysia’s politics. By the way you are outdated on this too ...WE ARE MALAYSIANS, nothing else.......stop publishing pathetic articles like this 😏

Lye Hin wrote: Local press never mention about this. Very suspicious Straits Times of Singapore seemed to have this inside knowledge. Is there an ulterior motive?

Erphie Irfan wrote: stop spreading unconfirmed hearsay. not even a week and Straits Times already wants to undermine our neighbour's new government?

Wind Chong wrote: ST, where did you get your source? Please prof the statement..and to all readers out there,please go and look for source before believing news..and ST,you have just lost trust from a lot of readers..thanks!

Razin Park Razor wrote: Who is this top PKR leader anyway? what is the proof that it was said? Anyway, the article said a top PKR leader, not the president of PKR. very creative to put the two paragraphs together and make people think its her that said this. ST should be more critical in its reporting ya...


Editor's note - If this report was made in Singapore and ST misquoted the political leader based on some unnamed source, its publishers and author will likely be charged for sedition by the Singapore government.