The Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Datuk Seri Said Keruak has said Putrajaya will not jam telecommunication towers during the Bersih 4 rally in order to block communication amongst the participants.
The Malaysian public will hold him to his promise as in the previous Bersih 3 rally, the public have found their cellphone signals jammed which could only happen as a result of the directives from the powers-that-be to the telecommunication providers (telcos).
In an Internet and information era, Malaysians expect Salleh not only to ensure that cellphone signals during the Bersih 4 rally are not jammed and rendered unserviceable, but for the telecos to greatly increase their capacities many fold to cope with the increased traffic caused by hundreds of thousands Malaysians pouring into the Federal capital, likely to be larger crowds than Bersih 1, 2 and 3.
In this connection, it is most regrettable that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is already violating his public pledge that there will no interference or interruption of the free flow of information in connection with the 34-hour long Bersih 4 overnight rally.
MCMC had announced on its FaceBook page today that it is going to block websites that promote and spread information about Bersih 4 rally, to discourage growing nation-wide support for the rally.
It is ridiculous for MCMC to claim that it is blocking these websites which “promote, spread information and encourage people to join the Bersih 4 demonstration” on the ground that this will “threaten national stability”.
This is arrant nonsense, as it is abuses of power like MCMC blocking FBs on the ground of carrying information about Bersih 4 which undermines public confidence and threaten national stability.
The world knows that there is going to be a Bersih 4 rally this weekend, not only in Kuala Lumpur, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu but in at least 50 cities world-wide. Is the MCMC going to act and pretend that the Bersih 4 rally in Kuala Lumpur does not exist, by wiping it out of the telecommunications system?
This is a most shocking manner to cope with the challenges of the information age.
Salleh should in fact be chairing an emergency meeting to ensure that the telecommunication providers increase their capacity by at least twenty times considering that there will be about half a million people attending the Bersih 4 overnight rally to cope with the increased demands on the GSM infrastrastructure.
Salleh must bear personal responsibility if there is a breakdown of the mobile telecommunications system in Kuala Lumpur during Bersih 4 rally.
During the 55th Merdeka celebrations on August 31, 2012, the telecommunication providers increased their capacity at the Bukit Jalil Stadium to meet the target of the then Information, Communications and Culture Minister, Datuk Seri Rais Yatim to achieve a million tweets within an hour to Prime Minister Najib using the hashtag #Merdeka55 on Twitter.
Can the telecommunication providers ensure a 20-fold increase in the capacity of their telecommunications infrastructure around Dataran Merdeka area in Kuala Lumpur?
It is most shocking and irresponsible that the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) chief Zulkifeli Mohd Zin is talking about military intervention in the Bersih 4 rally this weekend if the government declares a state of emergency, in which case the military will take over the role of the police.
Malaysians regardless of race, religion, age, gender or politics are coming to Kuala Lumpur from various parts of the country in peace to democratically and constitutionally express their love, concern and patriotism for Malaysia in wanting an end to multitude of crisis facing the country.
Why are those in authority actively trying to fan fear by irresponsible talk of declaration of emergency and military rule?