Zainuddin bin Maidin

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Tan Sri
Zainuddin Maidin
Malaysian Minister of Information
In office
14 February 2006 – 8 March 2008
Preceded by Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir
Succeeded by Ahmad Shabery Cheek
Member of Parliament for Sungai Petani
In office
24 March 2004 – 8 March 2008
Succeeded by Johari Abdul
Personal details
Born (1939-06-29) 29 June 1939 (age 74)
Kedah Kota Kuala Muda, Kedah
Political party United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) part of Barisan Nasional
Spouse(s) Zaiton Zainol Abidin
Children 4
Occupation Journalist
Religion Islam

Tan Sri Zainuddin Maidin (born in 29 June 1939), is a Malaysian politician and the former Information Minister in the Malaysian cabinet. He is also the former Chief Editor of Utusan Melayu, the most popular Malay language newspaper in Malaysia. In the 12th General Election of Malaysia, he was defeated of the Sungai Petani parliamentary seat by Datuk Johari Abdul from Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

Early life[edit]

Zainuddin bin Maidin, was born in Kota Kuala Muda, Kedah, to a Muslim family of mixed Malay and Indian descent.[1] He received his early education in Maktab Mahmud, Alor Star.

He later obtained his diploma in journalism from the Berlin Journalism Institute in 1969. In 1981, he was awarded with the Professional Journalist Fellowship from the University of Michigan, USA.

Zainuddin is married to Datin Zaiton Zainol Abidin and is a father to two daughters and two sons.

Career[edit]

Authorship[edit]

He wrote a few books, and among the most notable ones are Yang Pertama dan Terakhir, Malaysia-British Relations in London, Mahathir Di Sebalik Tabir, and Tun Razak: Jejak Bertapak Seorang Patriot.

Politics[edit]

Zainuddin was appointed as a member of the Dewan Negara in 1998, before being named the Parliamentary Secretary of the Information Ministry in 17 January 2001. He was sworn as a member of the Dewan Negara for a second term in February 2001 and was appointed Deputy Information Minister in 21 November 2002.

Later, he won the Merbok Parliamentary seat in the 2004 Malaysian general elections by beating a Parti Keadilan Rakyat candidate with a 15,162 majority.

In 14 February 2006, he was made the Information Minister by then Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, replacing Datuk Paduka Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir.

In 2006, the DAP, which had been a vocal opponent of the Sedition Act and the Internal Security Act (ISA), filed a police report against UMNO, whose annual general assembly had been noted for its heated rhetoric, with delegates making statements such as "Umno is willing to risk lives and bathe in blood to defend the race and religion. Don't play with fire. If they (non-Malays) messed with our rights, we will mess with theirs."[2] In response, the Information Minister said that this indicated that the Sedition Act continued to remain relevant to Malaysian society. He also denied that the government intentionally used the act to silence dissent or to advance particular political interests.[3]

He gained notoriety in Malaysian politics for demonstrating a poor command of the English language during a telephone interview with Al Jazeera on the first Bersih rally.

In the 12th General Election of Malaysia on 8 March 2008, he contested the Sungai Petani parliamentary seat but was defeated by Datuk Johari Abdul from Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

In December 2012 Zainuddin caused a minor diplomatic incident with Indonesia after writing an article highly critical of former President B J Habibie, which was published by Utusan Malaysia, a newspaper notorious for its unquestioning sycophancy with Malaysia's ruling Barisan Nasional government. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono conveyed his discomfort with the article to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, [4] and the newspaper quietly retracted the article from its online site, although no apologies were offered.

In August 2013, Zainuddin was forced to apologise after AirAsia sent a letter of demand in response to a libellous article in his blog, in which he alleged that the prominent low-cost carrier served pork on its flights (pork is taboo food in Muslim-majority Malaysia). AirAsia had called for Zainuddin to post an apology for six months in the said blog, but Zainuddin stated that the apology would be published indefinitely.[5]

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • 1982 - Ahli Mahkota Pahang (AMP)
  • 1987 - Ahli Mahkota Kedah (AMK)
  • 1990 - Johan Mahkota Negara (JMN)
  • 1990 - Setia Mahkota Selangor (SMS)
  • 1996 - Pingat Jasa Negara (PJN); carrying the title Datuk
  • 2003 - Darjah Pingat Dato’ Mahkota Selangor (DPMS)
  • 2006 - Datuk Paduka Mahkota Kedah (DPMK)
  • 2006 - Darjah Gemilang Seri Melaka (DGSM); carrying the title Datuk Seri
  • 2009 - Panglima Setia Mahkota (PSM) ; carrying the title Tan Sri

References[edit]

  1. ^ The racial conundrum in Umno
  2. ^ Lopez, Leslie (November 17, 2006). Race rhetoric is part of Umno politics. Malaysia Today.
  3. ^ DAP proves Sedition Act still relevant: Zam. (November 28, 2006). Malaysia Today.
  4. ^ Yudhoyono complains to Najib over Zainuddin’s Habibie insult, The Malaysian Insider, December 21, 2012 
  5. ^ [1] For pork slur, Zam posts apology to AirAsia for six months. The Malaysian Insider. Retrieved 28 August 2013.