Malaysian politician wrongly named in US news report

Was it lost in translation or does US television station ABC News have a problem figuring out names?

Whatever it may be, the American broadcaster made an embarrassing gaffe when it published a report on its website, attributing a quote to a Malaysian Foreign Affairs Minister named "Kenyataan Akhbar".

The story was originally put out by the US news agency Associated Press (AP) a few days ago.

But the problem with the story was there is no minister by that name in Malaysia.

At least, not to any Malaysian.

AP had mistakenly attributed a statement in a press release by Malaysia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to an actual person.

"Kenyataan Akhbar" is Malay for press release. Malaysia's Minister for Foreign Affairs is Anifah Aman.

The gaffe was first spotted by Malaysian freelance journalist Zan Azlee.

He tweeted on his Twitter account @Fatbidin: "Looks like we got a new foreign Minister Encik Kenyataan Akhbar!!! Hahaha!!! Ok go American journalism!!"


That tweet was then retweeted by Malaysian Minister for Youth and Sports Khairy Jamaluddin.

ABC has since fixed the error.

The report was on the Malaysian second warrant officer Muhammad Rizalman Ismail at the Malaysian High Commission in New Zealand, who was accused of sexual assaulting a 21-year-old woman in May this year.

He had left New Zealand under the protection of diplomatic immunity, and this created a controversy.

He has since returned to face charges after he was extradited to New Zealand.

The alleged victim was outraged and even had to reveal her identity and tell her story to the New Zealand media.

The Wellington District court granted him bail yesterday on the condition that he does not break a curfew, surrender his passport and remain under the supervision of two Malaysian attaches.

Rizalman faces a jail term of up to 10 years if found guilty.

This article was first published on Oct 29, 2014.
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