31 July, 2007

Nation moving towards dictatorship ?

Offensive on bloggers: Nation moving towards dictatorship
Noor Hamzah

The West values freedom of speech, writing and thinking. Where speech is free, opinion is valued, no matter how stupid our views.

So it is a shock to me that Malaysia is moving to curb bloggers on what they write.

Khairy Jamaluddin, the son-in-law of the prime minister, reportedly said: ‘Dakwa penulis blog. Biar monyet lain takut’ (Charge bloggers in court. Let the other monkeys get scared).

Are we priming the country towards dictatorship? Like, ehem, Pakistan or previously, Iraq? Are we reducing parliament to be a mere rubber stamp for the incoming dictator? Notice that Khairy makes the call first, then Umno politicians follow suit and formulate policies which will then be rubber-stamped by the rest of the BN coalition.
(more from Malaysiakini here)

Meanwhile,it is official, monkey blogger Jeff Ooi on Tuesday confirmed that he had joined Malaysia's main opposition party the DAP, saying that he now wished to participate in the legislative process of parliamentary democracy.

Jeff Ooi, a prominent blogger fighting a libel suit, announced he has quit the Gerakan party in the ruling coalition to join the DAP to fight against government curbs on online dissent.

Ooi, who writes political commentaries on his "Screenshots" blog, is one of two bloggers who were sued by the government-linked New Straits Times daily for making allegedly libelous postings about the paper and its leadership.

I do not want people to misconstrue my intentions, which is why I have launched my political blog – parliament.jeffooi.com – to convey my thoughts and agenda," he said.

“I cannot remain a fence-sitter if change is to happen,”
he said at a welcoming party held by the DAP (Democratic Action Party) here on Tuesday.

Jeff has created waves in the Malaysian blogosphere. We await a tsunami from him in the political arena, said Lim Kit Siang.

Jeff’s statement of the reasons for joining the DAP is an eloquent expression of patriotism of a Malaysian, illustrating that patriotism is an integral part of all Malaysians and not the monopoly only of those who hold office or high positions. This makes the 50th Merdeka anniversary particularly significant.

I do not want to use the “monkey” language but this will be one of the challenges of Jeff Ooi, together with others in the political arena, to fight back the creeping law of the jungle and to restore the rule of law in Malaysian political and public life.

It has been said that Jeff Ooi’s decision to join the Opposition is a loss to blogging.

It should not be so. It should be a gain to both politics and blogging in Malaysia, enriching both.

I will like to see more politicians taking up blogging and more bloggers entering politics.

After all, blogging particularly socio-political blogging is not an end by itself but a means to an end and a time must come when bloggers must decide whether they should “dirty their hands” and make the transition from advocacy of their political ideals in cyberspace to enter the political terrain to be able to directly translate their ideals into action.

There is the perception that politics is dirty. It it is not politics that is dirty.. Politics is an honourable calling demanding conviction, passion, selflessness and sacrifice. If politics is regarded as dirty, it is the politicians who make politics dirty. Let bloggers get directly involved in politics to cleanse and rid it of “dirty”, unscrupulous and unprincipled politicians!

( Lim Kit Siang's Speech at the “Jeff Ooi’s Welcoming Party” as member of DAP in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 31st July 2007 at 11 am)

Visit Jeff's political blog @

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