Archive for January, 2011

When a regime becomes acutely insecure…

Faced with mounting protests from restless citizens and elaborate and investigative reporting particularly by independent Al Jazeera, the Egyptian regime revoked the Network’s licence to broadcast from the country and withdrew accreditation of all the broadcasting station’s staff.

Despite this turn of event, Al Jazeera’s resolve to soldier on apparently has not been dented.

Earlier on, the regime has clamped down on the Internet, Twitter and cellphone network.

See here for full story.

The Net widens

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 25 – The Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 will be amended to expand its scope and include ‘publications’ posted online and plug loopholes, said Home Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Mahmood Adam.

He said among other things, the Home Ministry was looking at the definition of “publication” and whether it should include Internet content, blogs or Facebook to expand the Act due to the changing landscape of the digital era.

Mahmood said the ministry was working with the Attorney-General’s Chambers to study the proposed amendments.

As we can see, the government is considering to define the term ‘publication’ wide enough so as to include things said and published on the Internet. See here for full story.

Corruption sung

This song, ‘If only I were Gayus Tambunan’, has the potential of being a chart-topper in Malaysia. Or at the very least, it would serve as a grim reminder to us Malaysians of corruption that inflicts society big time.

It is sung by an Indonesian ex-convict, Bona Paputungan, who was inspired by the exploits of Indonesian tax official Gayus Tambunan.

Gayus was jailed last week for seven years and fined approximately US$34,000 (RM105,000) for corruption and abuse of official position. He still faces several other charges and trials.

For full report, see here.

I wanna hold your hand!

This may well serve as a kind of signature tune for the MCA in the run-up to the Tenang by-election.

When the blog gets popular, the popular gets blocked?

What do you do when a blog becomes too popular for the liking of the powers-that-be?

Well, it appears that a ‘solution’ has been found: you just gazette it as a ‘political association’ — with all the accompanying rules that govern a political entity.

Below is the comment made by the blog’s (The Online Citizen) columnist, Leong Sze Hian, regarding the turn of event as posted in Malaysiakini:

I would like to devote my weekly column for this week to the Singapore blog The Online Citizen (TOC).

I have been a columnist for TOC since it started in December 2006, and have written over 300 articles. Recently the Singapore government has emailed TOC to inform them that it will be gazetted a as political association.

That means TOC is now required to declare its owners, editorial team, administrators, and designate a president, treasurer and secretary in accordance with the regulations.

The move also means the website will be barred from receiving funds from foreign donors and from allowing foreigners to participate in its events.

What does this mean for my regular ‘Uniquely Singapore’ column on TOC?

Well, for starters, under the rules for a political association, I will not be able to write, report, analyse or comment about the elections, when the next election expected to take place this year comes.

Since there is a prohibition on affiliating with any political party or supporting any political candidate, does it mean that I cannot write about a political party’s manifesto, or interview a political candidate, etc?

A world’s first

Since TOC is also required to be registered with the Media Development Authority (MDA), does it mean that I will be subject to censorship under the MDA’s rules, and just like say RTM, be wary of putting up ‘undesirable’ content?

TOC has sent an appeal to Singapore’s prime minister Lee Hsien Loong to reconsider the gazetting.

Singaporeans, Singaporean bloggers, and perhaps their counterparts and proponents of freedom of expression all over the world may be holding their breath, as this saga continues. 

Will history be made, as a group of citizen bloggers who are all volunteers – with not a single full-time staff, and no funding – become the first blogging web site in the world to be gazetted by a government as a political association? The deadline given to TOC to comply is 24 January. 

Scooting to the right

(Photo credit: mio_color_black02.jpg)

Malay rights group Perkasa has come up with a swift idea of ‘recruiting’ new members by attracting scooting enthusiasts in the capital city.

It claims that it has so far managed to register more than 12,000 new members, many of whom apparently came from the Mat Rempit fraternity.

See here for full story.

Of politicians and warped mind

Of late, women politicians have increasingly become a favourite punching bag of certain sexist politicians and other individuals with warped minds. And by doing so, these sexist individuals also insult our collective intelligence.

The latest case involves a certain Kedah Gerakan Youth leader who reportedly made a snide remark against pregnant politician Hannah Yeoh.

Kedah Gerakan Youth chief Tan Keng Liang has received a rain of fire for his internet posting that made an inappropriate remark about Subang Jaya state assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh’s pregnancy.

NONETan’s posting appeared yesterday evening on a Twitter discussion on whether voters should make choices based on individuals or parties.

At one point, Tan (right) asked a voter with the handle “jqquah” from the Subang Jaya state constituency whether he would vote BN if it fields a “good” candidate there.

The individual replied “of course”, adding that MCA Beliawanis treasurer Jessica Lai was tipped to contest there.

This prompted Tan to make the offending remark, “Would you choose Jessica Lai or Hannah Yeoh (left) who will be on maternity leave soon?”

This was met with an angry reprimand from The Sun editor R Nadeswaran, who replied to Tan describing his comments as “disgusting” and “out of order”.

For a complete story, see here.

‘Duty-free’ varsity?

In its earnest attempt to attract more students and make a mark internationally, Universiti Utara Malaysia has decided to apply to the federal government a duty-free status. A university campus doubling up as a tourist destination?

SINTOK, Jan 1 — Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) will apply to the federal government for duty-free status for its main campus here in an effort to speed up its revival and place it on the world map, said its vice-chancellor Prof Dr Mohamed Mustafa Ishak. 

He said the university was carrying out research on the matter and was now preparing a working paper to be submitted to the Ministry of Higher Education.

“The duty-free status will definitely help UUM become an international-level university in the field of management and business and attract more students locally and abroad,” he told reporters after delivering the vice-chancellor’s message at a gathering of about 3,000 staff of the university here today. 

He added that the university would be able to generate an income from business development activities on the campus based on the duty-free status which could reduce financial dependence on the government. — Bernama

January 2011

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