TNP defends report on gun violence in Malaysia

SINGAPORE - Our Page 1 headline and story Welcome to Malaysia, where... Death is Cheap and Staying Alive Costly (TNP July 31) has upset Malaysia's Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

He claimed the article did not contain facts but was based merely on opinions.

The New Paper (TNP) should have contacted his ministry to find out the actual facts behind the shooting cases that had taken place recently, he told Malaysia's Malay-language Berita Harian.

Singapore's Foreign Affairs Ministry also expressed its displeasure at the headline in a letter to TNP. (See report below)

We quoted Malaysian private investigators as saying it costs RM$5,000, or about S$2,000 to hire a hit man.

Not just for the rich

"Almost anybody can afford to hire a hitman. Not only the rich can hire contract killers now," one of them told us.

Dr Wan Junaidi said the report could affect the good ties between Malaysia and Singapore.

He also said it showed Malaysia in a bad light to the rest of the world and will have a negative impact on its tourism and investment sectors.

Editor Dominic Nathan said: "We regret that The New Paper's Page 1 headline was read as being insulting. It was not our intent. "We wanted to draw our readers' attention to the threat of gun violence in Malaysia. What we reported was also covered extensively in the Malaysian media."

Former New Straits Times group editor A. Kadir Jasin backed the article.

He said in a post: "Being a Singapore paper, it is responsible to the Singaporeans. Since many Singaporeans live in Malaysia or visit our country, it's the paper's right and responsibility to warn its readers of the risk that they may face while in Malaysia.

"Is it not a fact that Malaysia is becoming more and more dangerous? Don't just blame the Singapore newspapers. Our own newspapers are replete with stories of murder and mayhem.

"In fact, crime stories have become the staple of our newspapers. They regularly made the front page."

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