Malaysia Today and tomorrow

The recent blocking of the controversial Malaysia Today website by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (SKMM) is not only unprecedented, but also obviously has serious repercussions on Internet use and freedom of expression in Malaysia.

Energy, Water and Communications Minister Shaziman Abu Mansor claimed that ‘The Government did not instruct the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (SKMM) to block access to the Malaysia Today website.’

He added that ‘the Government had only given a “general instruction” to the commission to allow all blogs and websites to function provided they adhered to provisions under the Communications and Multimedia Act.’

It would take a bit more effort on the part of the minister to convince sceptical Malaysians of the SKMM’s independence of the government. Besides, given the powers provided by the Act, the said minister could have instead advised the Commission against blocking access to Malaysia Today as it contravenes the no-censorship provision of the Act.

A look at the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 reveals, in Section 3 (3) of Part I (Preliminary) of the Act, that ‘Nothing in this Act shall be construed as permitting the censorship of the Internet’.

Whatever the case may be, the fact is free access to a website has been denied to Malaysian citizens and other interested parties.

And even if it’s true, as alleged by Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar, that Malaysia Today had been ‘libelous, defamatory and slanderous’, blocking the website is akin to killing an ant with a sledgehammer. There is, to be sure, the defamation law that can handle such problems.

Even former PM Mahathir Mohamad, who’s so inclined towards curbing press freedom and freedom of expression during his premiership, is hopping mad over this ban as it violates the no-Internet censorship policy.

Without blinking an eye, the doctor slammed the government’s action as demonstrating ‘a degree of oppressive arrogance worthy of a totalitarian state’.

The fact that this blocking was exercised after the recent Permatang Pauh by-election also lends suspicion that the government intends to make Malaysia Today a warning to other websites and blogs, especially those critical of the government.

Put another way, this episode indicates that an avenue, i.e. the Internet, that provides an alternative to the controlled mainstream media is increasingly facing threats from the government.

This is certainly not a nice way to usher in the 51st anniversary of our ‘independence’ tomorrow, and beyond.

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11 Responses to “Malaysia Today and tomorrow”


  1. 1 Patek1472 30 August 2008 at 5:23 pm

    Aku menangis pada Hari Merdeka.
    (I am Crying on Merdeka (Independence) Day.)

    1. Aku menangis kerana rakyat Malaysia telah hilang kegembiraan dan perasaan terhadap masa hadapan negara yang diimpiankan dan tidak seperti semasa Allahyarham Tunku Abdul Rahman melaungkan “Merdeka!”.

    (I cry because Malaysians have lost the joy and hope of a future Malaysia as wished for unlike the times when the late Tunku Abdul Rahman shouted “Merdeka”. )

    2. Aku menanggis memikirkan ada rakyat Malaysia sendiri yang bercakap, berfikir dan bertindak memecahbelahkan rakyat dengan penuh perasaan perkauman dan keagamaan masing-masing tampa ada perasaan kebangsaan dan kesahabatan.

    (I cry thinking of some Malaysians who talk, think and act to divide the citizens with their own racists and religious thoughts without a care for nationalism and friendships.)

    3. Aku menangis memikirkan ada rakyat Malaysia yang lebih mementingkan sendiri dari negara apabila timbul isu-isu parti, jawatan, habuan, kuasa, kawan, kesahabatan dan keadilan.

    (I cry thinking of some Malaysians who care more of themselves rather than the Nation when it comes to issues of party, posts, rewards, power, friends, relationship and fairness.)

    4. Aku menangis memikirkan ada rakyat dan keluarga mereka yang masih belum mendapat keadilan sewaktu dipenjarakan, ditindas, dirompak, diugut, didiskriminasikan dan tidak juga dibenarkan bersuara.

    (I cry thinking of some citizens and their families who have not obtain justice while being imprisoned, oppressed, robbed, threatened, discriminated and not even allowed the freedom of speech.)

    5. Aku menangis memirkirkan ada rakyat Malaysia yang masih hidup Kias Pagi, Makan Pagi; Kias Petang Makan Petang walaupun Malaysia sudah 50 tahun merdeka.

    (I cry thinking there are still Malaysians who still live from Hand to Mouth everyday, even though Malaysia has already achieved 50 years of Independence.)

    Posted at http://patek1472.wordpress.com

  2. 2 tan, tanjong bungah 30 August 2008 at 5:45 pm

    Hi everyone,

    This blocking of Malaysia Today is another counter-productive act on the part of the BN Govt. This move would definitely not ‘endear’ the people to BN, as it is viewed as being oppresive and a censorship. BN seems to be on course for self-destruction!

    The people are ‘pushed’ even more to believe that the Govt has not learned any lesson from 8 Mar and 26 Aug. The minister’s claim that it is only a ‘general instruction’ would also not assuage the feelings of the people on the move.

    The claim by the Home Minister would also not convince the people on the necessity to block MT. If MT has run foul of the civil laws, by all means charge RPK in court and then let the courts decide.

  3. 3 citizenken 30 August 2008 at 6:25 pm

    remember cambodia cambodian genocide? never repeat any act that supresses its own people by the goverment. they have all the laws from the sedition act to ISA, the only thing they have not done is to send its people to torture cum rehabilitation camp. it’s becoming a totalitarian goverment, with PI bala missing and the burmese doctor went AWOL. soon a lot more ppl may ‘disappear’. Malaysia Boleh.

  4. 4 hadi 30 August 2008 at 7:37 pm

    Don’t argue with an idiot, you will never win. Happy Ramadhan to all Malaysians. Forget about Merdeka celebration as you will hear the same noise created by RMAF jets with no purpose but wasting taxpayers money.

  5. 5 Rom Nain 30 August 2008 at 8:23 pm

    How can we expect these morons to learn anything at all from 8 March and 26 August? We can’t. Which is why we now get flip-flops in every conceiveable area, the latest being this idiotic MCMC attempt at censorship. And then we get the goons behind all this – like KJ – trying to con us by saying they are opposed to this move. Trick lama and trick bodoh. 51 years of ‘independence’? You pulling my leg?

  6. 6 artic turban 30 August 2008 at 10:41 pm

    hai yah this moron should ask his home minister what APA ALBAR BOTAK said before opening his mouth lah, what is this right hand don’t know what the left hand is doing, that is the problem with morons, can’t even get their stories straight, IF YOU WANT TO LIE, TRY LAH PAKAI OTAK SIKIT, DON’T LAH UNTIL YOU ALL SOUND SO STUPID. this is the calibre of morons we have from UMNO. terlalu bodoh untuk tipu, maybe in 1965-1975 bolih goreng lah not now.

  7. 8 www bpa jpm com 31 August 2008 at 11:17 am

    you can report direct to the http://www.bpa.jpm.my/
    don’t make noise unnecessarily
    some monkeys and elephants are just politicizing your words,
    they become minister later,
    they corrupt your father’s money.

    so speak directly to the face of the administrator.

    government is you.

    administrators ARE there to listen to you.

    whoever don’t listen,
    you can give them ticket to the court.

    life is easy.

    don’t deny your rights
    or complain for nothing
    jeopardizing 27 million people.

    btw..what is your proposal?

    Merdeka cheers!

  8. 9 Prof Ramli 31 August 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Dear ‘www bpa jpm com’,

    You ask Mustafa contemptuously, “What is your proposal?”

    You just don’t get it, do you?

    If only you had read – and I mean read with understanding – Mustafa’s original post, you would have noticed that he suggests, i.e. proposes, at least two things.

    First, using existing laws, such as the laws on defamation, if, indeed, they (you?) assert RPK is defaming individuals.

    Second, Mustafa also suggests that the MCMC relook at the 1998 Communications and Multimedia Act which, he argues, the MCMC is contravening (in simple language, MCMC is actually breaking the law, kot?) with this blocking action.
    You, on the hand, are asking Mustafa to channel his complaints ‘through the proper channel’, i.e. through the BPA. And you speak facetiously about how matters are easily ‘resolved’. Hence, you say, “administrators ARE there to listen to you. whoever don’t listen, you can give them ticket to the court. life is easy.”
    ‘Ticket to the court?’ You really must enlighten us as to where these ‘tickets’ are sold and for how much.
    The fact of the matter is that, ever since this story broke, many parties have spoken up openly against the ‘blocking’ action by the MCMC. Anybody who can read would have gathered this. So, where are these ‘administrators’ who are listening right now?
    Anyway, since you are evidently listening – and can perhaps pass this message on to the ‘administrators’ – please tell these administrators that the only, civilized, democratic way to deal with bloggers like RPK is to engage intellectually with them, not bully them as if you were a thug.

    Blocking their sites, intimidating them by raiding their premises, threatening them with sedition and prison are the ways of a bankrupt, immoral government, devoid of any intelligence.

  9. 10 MIC 31 August 2008 at 4:15 pm

    I think the banning is for overall stability of the country. The Director of SKMM sacrificed himself to the curses of those who are against the banning.
    I came home admiring the Man’s absolute patriotism to our beloved Malaysia. In a sence I am also very much embrassed that not many in Malaysia who can make such sacrifices. Think about it. He has done it for our own good for the future.

    Think ahead

  10. 11 ek 1 September 2008 at 9:08 pm

    It’s not unprecedented, unfortunately, as MCMC in June 2007 banned access to a number of websites related to a scam called “Swisscash”. There’s their landmark, which most of us missed because it wasn’t political. Read this.


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