I was asked by a friend to comment on the visit by Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin (ZAM) to the New Straits Times Press (NSTP) group office in Bangsar yesterday. I told him there is nothing much to say but he insisted that something is wrong since the top two editorial leaders were absent.
The visit was the second officially by the ex-journalist-turned-politician after he was elevated to a full minister. The first visit was to the Mandarin language newspaper, Sin Chew Jit Poh.
When Zainuddin was appointed Senator (a member of the upper house of Parliament) on the recommendation of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, he proudly told his peers and friends that he was not interested to be an elected member of Parliament but look at him today. The taste of political power and the good life is hard to reject.
I could understand why NSTP deputy chairman-cum-editorial-advisor Kalimullah Hassan did not turn up to greet ZAM. Kali is a non-executive board member and he was not invited by the group CEO Syed Faisal Albar to do so. But, Hishamuddin Aun and his deputy Brendan Pereira should be there. By the way, both are appointees of Kali.
It is against the Malay custom for the hosts not to be there in person to greet his guest and the guest is none other than the information minister, a representative of the government.
It was stated by the CEO that the duo had an earlier appointment with education minister Hishamuddin Hussein and the task of greeting the minister on behalf of NST went to my good friend the deputy group editor, Syed Nadzri Syed Harun.
As a Malay, Hishamuddin should be there to greet ZAM and let Brendan went to see the education minister. I strongly believed that ZAM would not miss Brendan.
Although ZAM said that he was not upset or sore, but deep inside... I am sure he was very upset. He is, whether you like it or not, the information minister.