IT was the splash of paint on the main entrance of ones’ home in Seri Delima, Penang that temporarily cast uncalled for aspersions on Malaysiakini journalist Susan Loone.
An auspicious colour for those ushering the Lunar New Year of The Rat, red is also synonymous with triads, shylocks, and gangster-type debt collectors who resort to this form of public shaming to “coax” loan defaulters.
“Aiyoh… I don’t owe any loan sharklah!” an exasperated Loone candidly related.
Not one to be drawn into speculation if the attack was linked to her writings uploaded over a news portal, Loone added she would leave it to police investigations.
And they have initially concluded that Loone could be an intended victim of a break during the coming festive holiday season.
Like that scene from P. Ramlee’s “Ali Baba Bujang Lapok”, it would seem her home had been marked as a possible target for a home invasion.
For an individual with no known links to the underworld, this is clearly an act of intimidation on a journalist – no matter what our guardians of the law may wanna us to believe.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and national journalism bodies remain strong advocates to promote the safety of journalists for keeping the public informed.
Attacks of journalists, such as that which befell Loone, have been deemed to be spearheaded by criminal gangs, politicians and sometimes law enforcers.
Besides intimidation, they have also been physical assaults, harassment, and illegal detention.
In Malaysia, journalists, especially those from the vernacular press, have had their fair share of bodily harm over articles they produced. Some even sustained disfigurement after splashed with acid.
When pointed out such instances, Loone acknowledged that she had been targetted in the past over her writings related to prominent politicians from both sides of the divide, and even lambasted over Facebook.
During the Barisan Nasional administration, certain high profile politicians deemed Loone and the portal she remains employed to be pro-Opposition.
Now with this Pakatan Harapan Government, it would seem the tides have changed yet there are those who view her articles to be “not supportive” of this Government.
She was once detained for almost 12 hours and still remains flabbergasted as to why that happened to her.
Loone was also rough handled by a prominent politician’s security personnel and all it drew was an apology tweeted.
And now the front gate of her home red-painted!
Following this incident, Loone was assured police would step up their patrols as they were unable to obtain any identification of suspects.
Whether it would be round the clock, seven or 365-day patrols, Loone remains unperturbed and will continue going about her tasks as a journalist.
“Like it or otherwise, I have to earn a living and I believe I work hard at what I do,” Loone said.
But she remains steadfast as Loone is a strong advocate that “the pen remains mightier than the sword” and these days there are cyberwarriors too!
Besides that, there’s also “Bobby” whose watching over Loone’s back!