Internet crackdown: Looks like M'sians have grown up but not BN

Written by Jeswan Kaur, Malaysia Chronicle

Malaysians have 'grown up', as far as understanding how the politics of this country works. It is the government under the Barisan Nasional leadership that has regressed and refuses to accept the tide of change.

This refusal cost BN the 12th general election victory. This refusal has also cost the government the loss of empathy from the people. Still, has the government learned that it will 'reap what it sows'? Far from it.

Instead, in a typical 'I'm the boss" fashion, the government threw ultimatums to independent portals and bloggers that 'big brother will be keeping an eye' on them - the government's idea was to apparently nip the problem in the bud by gaining as much control as possible over the Internet and thus have the final say over what online news reported. The BN believes that the one and only reason they lost in the last general election was because of the doings of Internet, stories churned out by bloggers and portals against the government.

With the next general election around the corner, BN has started having sleepless nights pondering ways to outdo the opposition. Voila! It thought amending the Printing Presses and Publications (PPP) Act 1984 was the answer to their worries. So on Monday, Umno vice-president and Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein dropped the bomb that he would soon release guidelines on sedition that will impact online portals and blogs. The guidelines have been vetted by the Attorney-General and are based on four or five statutes.

But the folly of it all came when a day after Hishamuddin’s ‘caveat’ ministry secretary-general Mahmood Adam announced amendments to the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984. Such in a hurry is Hishamuddin's ministry that it was hoping to have the ultimate say over bloggers and news portals by March.

The news itself was a bad move and after the thunderous ‘slaps’ from all quarters, BN about –shipped, abandoning plans to amend the PPP Act 1984.

If it was a political gamble on BN’s part to frighten bloggers and news portals, it was a wrong ball game altogether. The verdict from the people was out there and realising the ticking clock of the coming general election, BN quickly resorted to psychologically brainwashing the rakyat – reflecting yet again its mistake in having taken the people for granted.

To the new crop of politicians including Seputeh MP Teresa Kok, Batu MP Tian Chua, Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin and Pulai MP Nur Jazlan Mohamed, the amendment news was a bad, bad, move.

Both Kok and Tian did not mince their words when they said it was confirmed that BN will never change for the better. To the duo, the decision to amend the PPP Act was yet “another measure” to further stifle the voice of the people and tighten government control.

While Khairy who is also Umno Youth chief said the amendment was ‘ridiculous’.

“We should be moving towards greater freedom,” was his reaction then.

For Nur Jazlan, he felt tightening government control over the PPP Act was not the answer. Instead, tackling “negative elements” in the Internet and the voters through an effective government campaign was more feasible.

“It is a silly thing to do. Unless we have jurisdiction to control the content outside of the country, the law would be redundant,” Nur Jazlan opined.

Likewise, former Selangor menteri besar Dr Khir Toyo felt best was to strengthen the Sedition Act to nab rumour mongers. Looks like the rakyat has a hunch why Khir is all for tougher penalty under the Sedition Act..

BN not giving up

Shocked that its news failed to scare the news portals and bloggers, BN decided it was time to play the next game, the Russian roulette. As awkward as the government’s subsequent move was, it had to be done, not because BN wanted to save face but because the rakyat’s votes were at stake.

So, minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Aziz yesterday announced that the government would instead draw up guidelines for three Acts pertaining to information dissemination and the use of the Internet to help the public to understand these laws. The Acts affected are the Sedition Act 1948, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) Act 1998 and the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.

And very quickly came the clichéd and almost ‘too good to be true’ words from Nazri: “The move is not to stifle freedom of expression in the country but that the government was stern on issues that could threaten national security.”

The move he justified was due to the increasing popularity enjoyed by the cyberworld. And soon after came the most remarkable of propaganda from Nazri:

"People have been talking about freedom of expression, freedom of the press. They think freedom of expression is everything, including the freedom to lie, to slander, to do anything, even to the extent of jeopardising the country's security.

"Security of the nation is paramount. No compromise on that," he said.

If anything, the rakyat has learned and continues to learn when truth is manipulated or hidden to accommodate personal agendas. It looks like this is what is giving BN a migraine and causing it to lose focus here.

While the people have all ‘grown up’, BN continues to act childishly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Allah is watching you and umno morons from a distance...

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