Malaysian government shuts up bloggers

Wednesday, July 25, 2007 at 21:15 | Posted in Bloggers' rights, Blogosphere, censorship, Freedom of speech, malaysia, Press freedom | 5 Comments

The government controlled Malaysian news agency Bernama writes (via Susan Loone) about the government’s plan to take “tough action against web bloggers who write on sensitive issues which include insulting the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Islam”:

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said the government would not hesitate to use the Internal Security Act (ISA), the Sedition Act 1948 and Section 121b of the Penal Code against these bloggers.

He said the government had exercised restraint in the matter for a long time and the time had come for it to act according to those laws.

“I want to issue a warning that the time has come for us to take action against them (bloggers who make disparaging statements). We have the right and we will do it. We have been very patient,” he said when winding up debate on the Electronic Government Activities Bill 2007 in the Dewan Negara here. The bill was passed.

As much of the main stream media in Malaysia is under government control there is not much of press freedom as we understand it in the country. Blogs are the only source that could provide a somewhat credible and critical coverage of news and current events in the country. This explains the government’s eagerness to get at critical bloggers.

The owner of the independent news site Malaysia Today, Raja Petra, was taken in for questioning at a police station on Wednesday and released after eight hours. He was faced with accusations that articles and comments posted on his website “insulted the Yang diPertuan Agong and Islam”. Insulting the monarch and religion is a standard phrase commonly used to describe critical web contents.

As Bernama reports, alleged insults of the monarch and islam were also quoted by the coalition senator Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib, who filed the compalint against Malaysia Today. Berasa quotes the senator as saying:

“The liberal writing on the portal can cause young minds to think that there are no rules and sensitivities governing articles and that anyone can write on any matter in the name of individual freedom,” he said.

“At a time when the government is introducing the system of electronic government, there are unhealthy developments in the form of publications on the web such as this, articles which can be read not only by our society but also the whole world and anyone for that matter, even children,” he added.

Anyone writing “on any matter in the name of individual freedom” is called freedom of speech elsewhere, senator. It must be a pain in his senatorial ass that the whole World gets to read this “liberal writing”. It would be so much more comfortable if only one official truth was spread around the World from Malaysia.

This is why the Malaysian government is doing their best to shut up critical bloggers. Which of course will only put lacking press freedom and freedom of speech in Malaysia on focus but I guess the government is unable to understand this.

Edit: Oh dear! It looks like quite a lot of good comments intended to this post have ended up here. I have no idea why this happened. I can just refer to read the comments there.

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  1. […] and Malaysia media notes MalaysiaKini Malaysian government shuts up bloggers Fear and loathing in Malaysia More love for bloggers Anak Raja Bugis menyerang […]

  2. List of racial discriminations in Malaysia, practiced by government as well as government agencies. This list is an open secret. Best verified by government itself because it got the statistics.

    This list is not in the order of importance, that means the first one on the list is not the most important and the last one on the list does not mean least important.

    This list is a common knowledge to a lot of Malaysians, especially those non-malays (Chinese, Ibans, Kadazans, Orang Asli, Tamils, etc) who were being racially discriminated.

    Figures in this list are estimates only and please take it as a guide only. Government of Malaysia has the most correct figures. Is government of Malaysia too ashamed to publish their racist acts by publishing racial statistics?

    This list cover a period of about 50 years since independence (1957).

    List of racial discriminations (Malaysia):

    (1) Out of all the 5 major banks, only one bank is multi-racial, the rest are controlled by malays

    (2) 99% of Petronas directors are malays

    (3) 3% of Petronas employees are Chinese

    (4) 99% of 2000 Petronas gasoline stations are owned by malays

    (5) 100% all contractors working under Petronas projects must be bumis status

    (6) 0% of non-malay staffs is legally required in malay companies. But there must be 30% malay staffs in Chinese companies

    (7) 5% of all new intake for government army, nurses, polices, is non-malays

    (8) 2% is the present Chinese staff in Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), drop from 40% in 1960

    (9) 2% is the percentage of non-malay government servants in Putrajaya. But malays make up 98%

    (10) 7% is the percentage of Chinese government servants in the whole government (in 2004), drop from 30% in 1960

    (11) 95% of government contracts are given to malays

    (12) 100% all business licensees are controlled by malay government e.g. Approved Permits, Taxi Permits, etc

    (13) 80% of the Chinese rice millers in Kedah had to be sold to malay controlled Bernas in 1980s. Otherwise, life is make difficult for Chinese rice millers

    (14) 100 big companies set up, managed and owned by Chinese Malaysians were taken over by government, and later managed by malays since 1970s e.g. MISC, UMBC, UTC, etc

    (15) At least 10 Chinese owned bus companies (throughout Malaysia, throughout 40 years) had to be sold to MARA or other malay transport companies due to rejection by malay authority to Chinese application for bus routes and rejection for their application for new buses

    (16) 2 Chinese taxi drivers were barred from driving in Johor Larkin bus station. There are about 30 taxi drivers and 3 are Chinese in October 2004. Spoiling taxi club properties was the reason given

    (17) 0 non-malays are allowed to get shop lots in the new Muar bus station (November 2004)

    (18) 8000 billion ringgit is the total amount the government channeled to malay pockets through ASB, ASN, MARA, privatisation of government agencies, Tabung Haji etc, through NEP over 34 years period

    (19) 48 Chinese primary schools closed down since 1968 – 2000

    (20) 144 Indian primary schools closed down since 1968 – 2000

    (21) 2637 malay primary schools built since 1968 – 2000

    (22) 2.5% is government budget for Chinese primary schools. Indian schools got only 1%, malay schools got 96.5%

    (23) While a Chinese parent with RM1000 salary (monthly) cannot get school-text-book-loan, a malay parent with RM2000 salary is eligible

    (24) 10 all public universities vice chancellors are malays

    (25) 5% – the government universities lecturers of non-malay origins had been reduced from about 70% in 1965 to only 5% in 2004

    (26) Only 5% is given to non-malays for government scholarships over 40 years

    (27) 0 Chinese or Indians were sent to Japan and Korea under “Look East Policy”

    (28) 128 STPM Chinese top students could not get into the course that they aspired e.g. Medicine (in 2004)

    (29) 10% place for non-bumi students for MARA science schools beginning from year 2003, but only 7% are filled. Before that it was 100% malays

    (30) 50 cases whereby Chinese and Indian Malaysians, are beaten up in the National Service program in 2003

    (31) 25% is Malaysian Chinese population in 2004, drop from 45% in 1957

    (32) 7% is the present Malaysian Indians population (2004), a drop from 12% in 1957

    (33) 2 million Chinese Malaysians had emigrated to overseas since 40 years ago

    (34) 0.5 million Indian Malaysians had emigrated to overseas

    (35) 3 million Indonesians had migrated into Malaysia and became Malaysian citizens with bumis status

    (36) 600000 are the Chinese and Indian Malaysians with red IC and were rejected repeatedly when applying for citizenship for 40 years. Perhaps 60% of them had already passed away due to old age. This shows racism of how easily Indonesians got their citizenship compare with the Chinese and Indians

    (37) 5% – 15% discount for a malay to buy a house, regardless whether the malay is poor or rich

    (38) 2% is what Chinese new villages get compare with 98% of what malay villages got for rural development budget

    (39) 50 road names (at least) had been changed from Chinese names to other names

    (40) 1 Dewan Gan Boon Leong (in Malacca) was altered to other name (e.g. Dewan Serbaguna or sort) when it was being officially used for a few days. Government try to shun Chinese names. This racism happened in around year 2000 or sort

    (41) 0 churches/temples were built for each housing estate. But every housing estate got at least one mosque/surau built

    (42) 3000 mosques/surau were built in all housing estates throughout Malaysia since 1970. No churches, no temples are required to be built in housing estates

    (43) 1 Catholic church in Shah Alam took 20 years to apply to be constructed. But told by malay authority that it must look like a factory and not look like a church. Still not yet approved in 2004

    (44) 1 publishing of Bible in Iban language banned (in 2002)

    (45) 0 of the government TV stations (RTM1, RTM2, TV3) are directors of non-malay origins

    (46) 30 government produced TV dramas and films always showed that the bad guys had Chinese face, and the good guys had malay face. You can check it out since 1970s. Recent years, this tendency becomes less

    (47) 10 times, at least, malays (especially Umno) had threatened to massacre the Chinese Malaysians using May 13 since 1969

    (48) 20 constituencies won by DAP would not get funds from the government to develop. Or these Chinese majority constituencies would be the last to be developed

    (49) 100 constituencies (parliaments and states) had been racistly re-delineated so Chinese voters were diluted that Chinese candidates, particularly DAP candidates lost in election since 1970s

    (50) Only 3 out of 12 human rights items are ratified by Malaysia government since 1960

    (51) 0 – elimination of all forms of racial discrimination (UN Human Rights) is not ratified by Malaysia government since 1960s

    (52) 20 reported cases whereby malay ambulance attendances treated Chinese patients inhumanely, and malay government hospital staffs purposely delay attending to Chinese patients in 2003. Unreported cases may be 200

    (53) 50 cases each year whereby Chinese, especially Chinese youths being beaten up by malay youths in public places. We may check at police reports provided the police took the report, otherwise there will be no record

    (54) 20 cases every year whereby Chinese drivers who accidentally knocked down malays were seriously assaulted or killed by malays

    (55) 12% is what ASB/ASN got per annum while banks fixed deposit is only about 3.5% per annum

    There are hundreds more racial discriminations in Malaysia to add to this list of “colossal” racism. It is hope that the victims of racism will write in to expose racism.

    Malaysia government should publish statistics showing how much malays had benefited from the “special rights” of malays and at the same time tell the statistics of how much other minority races are being discriminated.

    Hence, the responsibility lies in the Malaysia government itself to publish unadulterated statistics of racial discrimination.

    If the Malaysia government hides the statistics above, then there must be some evil doings, immoral doings, shameful doings and sinful doings, like the Nazi, going on onto the non-malays of Malaysia.

    Civilized nation, unlike evil Nazi, must publish statistics to show its treatment on its minority races. This is what Malaysia must publish……….

    We are asking for the publication of the statistics showing how “implementation of special rights of malays” had inflicted colossal racial discrimination onto non-malays.

  3. Malaysia revisited (virtually)

    As Reuters reports, the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board in Kuala Lumpur has adopted a roll as a fashion police of some sort. They are imposing a strict dress code on Kuala Lumpur’s taxi drivers. The cabbies are supposed to wear white shirts, d…

  4. […] I have written on several occasions both here at Blogwatch.eu and my own blog, it is not at all uncommon that prominent Malaysian bloggers are intimidated by the law enforcing […]

  5. […] in mind that the Malaysian government have a notorious record on harassing bloggers, the accusation of “insulting islam” must be regarded as an […]


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