Coffee, WhatsApp and electric brains! Interview With…Kazi Mahmood, Business Editor, Malay Mail

What does a day in the Malay Mail newsroom look like?
It is a hectic affair, with the various News Editors chasing their Reporters for their stories. It is however, much less hectic with the business desk, as our stories are in earlier during the day. The business desk gets very hectic if there is a huge announcement, like the recent budget revision, during which time we have to get the comments from experts and economists to analyse the measures taken by the Malaysian Prime Minister to curb the potential rise in budget deficit and so on. At Malay Mail we have four pages of business for the moment, but it is still challenging to find lead stories at times, though in this period of economic uncertainties there are many story ideas that come to mind and we get cracking with the phone calls and email conversations with Analysts and officials on a daily basis.

How and where did you start your journalism career?
I have a long career in journalism, which started in Mauritius in 1981 when I was the Correspondent for a few London based business and political publications. As a matter of fact, I was reporting more on politics than business or economy with the Africa Now magazine, which was a Nigerian government funded publication in London.

From there, I got exposure in the African Business, which is still a popular magazine on the African continent. It was also based in London, and this is where I mastered my ‘business’ writing skills, working for them for at least 13 years.

Along the way, I got involved with the BBC Radio Network Africa, which was the leading BBC Africa radio station. It was a learning curve for me, jumping from written journalism to spoken intervention. We had to use the regular office or house phones to contact the BBC Network Africa Editors in London, but the amazing thing was the rapidity I had to put my stories together and to read it on the phone to the Editors who would record them.

The next thing was to listen to your voice on the BBC channels, and that always made my day!

What exactly does a Business Editor for the newspaper do?
My duties are to assign the story ideas to the Reporters, or to get them to go for assignments which I decide upon. At times, the News Editors will discuss some specific assignments for the business desk in the editorial meetings, and I will delegate them to the Reporters or my Assistant Editor Sathish P.G.

The entire business pages reflect how I assigned the jobs to the guys, and what comes out of these assignment would, in most circumstances be about the questions that I would formulate for the Reporters to ask during the press conferences or interviews. 

I edit the articles sent to the desk by the Reporters. If they did not get the story the way I wanted it, with a specific lead, I would sometimes ask them to rewrite the articles or get back to the responsible parties at the companies etc to get them to answer the questions that I would have sent earlier!

Finally, I am also responsible for the reviewing of the articles that has been subbed by the Sub-Editors, and review the final layout of the pages done by the graphic team.

What are the deadlines for your publication?
We are a daily paper, with five working days for the business pages, which means we do not have business pages during weekends prints.

How do you prefer to be contacted?
I like emails, or whatsapp.

What are the traits of your favourite PR people to work with?
I prefer the guys who are straightforward. When we request a story, and they cannot get it for us, that’s fine with me. 

What are your interests and hobbies?
I like to surf (the web), but it will probably surprise many that I like to write a lot, a lot more than I do for the business desk. I write for my blog and on my Facebook page which I manage. It is a page that reflects my blog which is called 

If you had to choose: coffee, lunch or drinks?
I do not drink alcohol. I love coffee but I go slow on them, since it dehydrates my body at a rapid pace. My lunch is usually stable food!

Favourite type of cuisine?
Northern Indian will be my favourite, but living in Malaysia, I am now accustomed to Rendang and surely Ikea food!

What would your super power be?
The electric brain that I have? 🙂

Is it worth it France?

In 2012, France closed its embassies in some Muslim nations, fearing backlash over naked cartoons in the Charlie Hebdo trash. Is it worth it? If the French authorities deem it worth to close their embassies to protect a trash paper, then it says so much about their morality. Charlie Hebdo editor said he do not defend or protect 'freedom of expression' it worth it FRANCE? —

In 2012, France closed its embassies in some Muslim nations, fearing backlash over naked cartoons in the Charlie Hebdo trash. Is it worth it? If the French authorities deem it worth to close their embassies to protect a trash paper, then it says so much about their morality. Charlie Hebdo editor said he do not defend or protect ‘freedom of expression’….is it worth it FRANCE? —

CH Profile: Suicidal attempt at turning France against Islam


The Paris rally against terrorism, seen as a pro-CH affair by some, is actually a meeting of top world leaders on how to halt ‘Islamic terror.’

The Charlie Hebdo team, particularly the main leaders of the editorial board, were adamant that they will continue to defile the Prophet of Islam stating clearly this was their prime mission. Continue reading

Will France Rip Islam Apart After Charlie Hebdo?

Alexei Martynov suggested the Charlie Hebdo was carried out by US intelligence agencies to pressure French President Francois Hollande into maintaining Western economic sanctions against Russia.

Charlie Hebdo beheaded!

Charlie Hebdo beheaded!

As far as 2013, the French defended their non-participation in the Iraq war in 2003, a war which they deemed illegal. But this time around, with the Charlie Hebdo killings, will the French finally shun their own principles and join a larger coalition against Islam? Or is there more to the Paris attack than the eye can see, including pressure on France to support any international US agendas?<!–more–>

At the time of the decision making process to engage France in the Iraq war, the French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin’s delivered a master speech at the UN to defend his and his country’s opposition to the war. Note that villepin is a vocal right-wing political figure. His opposition to the war gained rare national consensus in France. It was applauded within the entire French political spectrum. But those days are over. Are they?

Since Villepin, France has changed, little by little and when President Nicolas Sarkozy took power the country tilted in the war mongering zone. He took office in 2007, and soon he banned the Niqab in public, imposing hefty fines on Muslim women who would defy the ban.

it was a ban that France had the right to impose, since it is a secular state and do not want people to completely hide their faces on the streets. This in the wake of constant terror threats in Europe. Note that the French did not ban the Muslim scarves, which the women are free to wear in the French streets.

Nevertheless, it was seen by many as a first step in France’s turn of page. The true face of France was seen with its bait to Russia in the Libyan war. We have covered this on many occasions, including in the Benghazi Affair story on Sarkozy pleaded with the Russians to vote a UN resolution for a ‘no-fly-zone’ over Libya during the Libyan revolt in 2011.

It then turned out to be a no-no-fly-zone, but a bombing zone resolution, under which the French joined the British and the Americans as well as Arab nations in fighting the Muammar Gaddafi regime, leading to the murder of the Libyan leader and thousands of his supporters. France became part and parcel of the anti-Muslim cabal under Sarkozy.

A YouGov study conducted in 2013 indicated that 45 percent of respondents support the French military strategy to eradicate terrorist cells in Mali. In the past 10 years or so, France has been involved in many wars.

Under Sarkozy and President François Hollande, France has participated in 3 major conflicts. Besides the Libya and Mali ones, there was also the Côte d’Ivoire conflict.

Hollande has recently announced that France military intervention in Mali, is coming to an end and the 4,000 French soldiers from Mali will begin their retreat in April.

However, the danger is that Hollande – whose popularity saw a slight rebound with the French Mali intervention and will surely spike with his successful manhunt of the terror suspects who attacked the Charlie Hebdo weekly – may now turn to military means to deal with what Europe and the West sees as ‘Islamic terror’.

Now, rumours are that there may be a Russian connection to the attack against Charlie Hebdo.

LifeNews, a mainstream Russian TV news channel aired an interview of its regular ‘expert political analyst’ Alexei Martynov who suggested the US were behind the attack. Reason: It was carried out by US intelligence agencies to pressure French President Francois Hollande into maintaining Western economic sanctions against Russia.

Four days ago, Hollande had stated that Russian sanctions should be lifted. He actually said: “Western sanctions on Russia to be lifted if progress is made in talks on the Ukraine conflict this month.”

Hollande said Russian President Vladimir Putin “doesn’t want to annex eastern Ukraine – he told me that”.

Germany’s vice-chancellor has warned against further sanctions on Russia. Chancellor Merkel is also said to be against widespread and new sanctions against Russia.

But then why attack Charlie Hebdo? Why send Muslims to attack the paper?

With the facts now known, the Charlie Hebdo editorial team decimated and France on the verge of a crusade against ‘extremist Muslims’, what does Russia sanctions has to do with all this?

It will be up to Hollande to keep up to his words. That is force the EU to lift the sanctions against Russia, which will not be impossible to achieve despite the tilting balance against Islam in France.

Next, Hollande will still have to keep his words to unite the country and fight Islamic extremism in France and abroad. Meaning more military incursions in Muslim nations.

The question is to what extent will France go in its rage to rip Islam apart, to avenge Charlie Hebdo?


The Kouachi Brothers

The Kouachi Brothers

The voice of Cherif Kouachi brothers talking to a french online TV, giving the reasons of his actions, right before they were attacked and killed by police. <!–more–>

Cheri said he was sent by the Al-Qaeda of Yemen, he was financed by late Anwar Al Awlaki (who was killed by an American drone in Yemen) and that he returned to France sometime back to plan his attacks.

During the interview, he said he was avenging the Prophet against the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, while he rejected that he or his brother were cold blooded killers.

When the journalist asked him if he will continue to kill, “he said we are not killers like you people. We have codes of conduct in Islam, we do not attack women and children.” In another part of the interview – which is not clear – he apparently said Charlie Hebdo journalists were not civilians, but targets (since they defiled the Prophet).

He also said the west killed women and children, but he and his brother and the Qaeda did not get involved in civilian killings.

Interview of Amedy Coulibaly by BFM TV France

Hayat in Niqab, veil banned in France holding a weapon

Hayat in Niqab, veil banned in France holding a weapon

Coulibaly, the other hostage taker in the Jewish Kosher shop, also spoke to the BFM TV. He said he was acting in synchronisation with the Kouachi brothers, he was targeting the police while the brothers dealt with Charlie Hebdo. He also said he was an ISIS man and that he had no other plans but to attack police and took the kosher shop hostage because it was Jewish.


Amedy Coulibaly and his girl friend Hayat

Amedy Coulibaly and his girl friend Hayat

Sommes Nous Charlie?

Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 11.05.23 AM

Charlie Hebdo does not depict the Prophet of Islam in its cartoons, it depicts ignorance instead. The attack against their HQ is a sad moment in history, carried by out by ignorants altogether! <!–more–>
The series of cartoons published since 2006, supposedly depicting the Prophet of Islam, were intended to strike at the nervous system of Muslim extremists. The plan was to show the world that the Muslims were emotional, irresponsible and denied freedom of the press.
They succeeded in achieving their aims, but they failed to understand the dangerous game they were playing by hiding behind the thick screen of ‘freedom of the press’.
Most of these acts were sponsored by some powerful parties, who had only one thing in mind: create havoc in the Muslim world, in order to press on with their ‘crusade’ against Muslims.
Unfortunately, some extremist Muslims took the bait from these irresponsible journalists and attacked the papers that published the cartoons.
Though the cartoons did not represent the Prophet of Islam, and represented the lack of sensitivity and the absence of intellectualism from the perpetrators, the messages were clear.
They hated Islam, they hated the Prophet and they wanted to be free to express such hatred. This, by itself was another form of extremism.
The attack in France is the result of such ignorance that has been allowed to fester in the country.
Sadly, extremism will only be strengthened by such attacks, and we have not seen the end of it all.

Malaysia: Shaky start to 2015

A market in the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur. Rising inflation in Malaysia has dampened consumer sentiment since the beginning of 2014 and prices are expected to surge further in the new year. (AFP)
This year will bring little cheer to Malaysia.
With export growth slowing due to a sluggish world economy and rising prices putting a damper on domestic consumption, the economy is expected to moderate after a rather robust 2014. Continue reading