Humble Janatul Plays Down Her Kindness To Fellow Journalist

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PETALING JAYA: When Janatul Firdaus Yaacob was sent to cover a protest in Taman Medan, she never expected to be thrown into the spotlight after a simple act of kindness.

“I helped him because he needed help, just like anyone else would have and I want all these racial and religious sentiments to stop,” said the Sinar Harian journalist who was criticised for helping a non-Muslim.

Janatul, 29, was referring to The Star journalist Nicholas Cheng with whom she was at a church when residents protested against a cross displayed on the building.

Upon seeing Cheng being surrounded by agitated residents, including a man who grabbed his collar, Janatul pulled him away and told him to stay beside her.

The down-to-earth and rather shy reporter insisted that the help she offered was not a big deal at all.

“I was just being empathetic and rational. It’s treating people how you want to be treated.

“Besides, he was just doing his job,” she said yesterday.

Cheng admitted that he could have approached the residents with better questioning skills.

The amount of feedback both reporters received was beyond what they had expected, after Cheng wrote about his experience on his Facebook profile.

Social activist Marina Mahathir shared Cheng’s post and even messaged him in private for more details of the protest.

Janatul said she received many praises and also negative comments criticising her for helping a Christian.

“I take him as a friend, and there are no race issues involved.

“There should be no politicising about this,” she said. – The Star