The 2008 Permatang Pauh by-election was historic because it marked former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's return to the Malaysian Parliament, this time as opposition leader. But the by-election was notorious for other reasons too. On 25 August that year, in a Barisan Nasional ceramah, Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail called non-Malay Malaysians "pendatang" or "squatters". Ahmad Ismail subsequently refused to apologise. And instead it was the Sin Chew Daily journalist who reported on his comments, Tan Hoon Cheng, who was detained without trial under the Internal Security Act on 12 September. Against this backdrop of polarising, racist rhetoric, and state intimidation against journalists, the news and analysis website, The Nut Graph felt compelled to respond in a way that would prevent public debate from degenerating.