Malaysian Parliament now the world’s No. 1 anti-bloggers Parliament?

Less than 24 hours of an assurance by the Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak that the government has not made a “special decision” to clamp down on bloggers, two pronouncements were made contradicting it and heralding such a clampdown.

One was made by Najib himself and the other by the “de facto” Law Minister, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz who declared a war against bloggers in the last sitting of Senate yesterday during the winding up of the debate on the Electronic Government Activities Bill 2007.

Declaring that “The time for talk is over, now is the time to act”, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri said the government would be taking legal action against bloggers who flagrantly belittled Islam or the Yang di Pertuan Agong.

He said that apart from the three laws that could be used against the bloggers, the Internal Security Act, Sedition Act and Section 121b of the Penal Code, the government was also looking at formulating new laws allowing it to monitor and act against offending bloggers in areas not provided by these legislation.

Speaking at the Malaysian Press Institute Press Awards Night, Najib said the government was deeply troubled by the growth of “irresponsible” alternative media.

It is sad that the Senate yesterday was turned into an anti-bloggers forum marking an administration which is unable to live up to the 2004 general election pledge of an open, accountable and transparent governance.

Why was there not a single Senator yesterday to stand up to caution restraint, moderation, reason and sanity instead of allowing the blogging bashing to run full steam, with the Umno Information chief, Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib who had lodged a police report against Raja Petra Kamaruddin, webmaster of the Malaysia Today news portal, singing an anti-bloggers duet with Nazri?

Has the Malaysian Parliament become the world’s No. 1 anti-bloggers Parliament?

Apart from taking action against bloggers for flagrantly belittling Islam or the Yang di Pertuan Agong, what are the other “offences” which would be regarded as fair play for the blogging clampdown?

The anti-bloggers invectives by Umno leaders suffer from a serious credibility problem as to their real motives, as

  • firstly, there is the question whether there is any basis for Muhammad’s police report that Malaysia Today had been guilty of belittling Islam and the Yang di Pertuan Agong; and
  • secondly, whether this was just an excuse for Umno leaders to launch a crackdown against Raja Petra and Malaysia Today because of their series of exposes of abuses of power and corruption implicating high-level leaders in Umno, Barisan Nasional, the police and the public service.

As the series of exposes of abuses of power and corruption implicating high-level leaders in Umno, Barisan Nasional, the police and the public service had never been taken seriously by the government, whether by way of a full public investigation or through defamation suits by the aggrieved individuals, the grave credibility question about the ulterior motive and real agenda of the crackdown on Raja Petra and Malaysia Today must be answered satisfactory by the powers-that-be.

This is the first question the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi must answer on his return to his duties on Friday from his private holidays in Australia.

  1. #1 by ihavesomethingtosay on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 12:03 pm

    RPK of Malaysia today summoned to Dang Wangi,

    there’s a petition on line.

    please visit and sign, thank you.

  2. #2 by Toyol on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 12:11 pm

    Is this how Malaysia has progressed? Is this how our forefathers envisioned the country when they fought for independence. In 2003, our PM made a declaration for erradicating corruption, foster good corporate governance and transparency. What happened to all that? Has it finally dawned on them that the rot has got to the bone that they now realise the futility of their promises?

    The blogs have achieved one thing…whether the govt acknowledges or not in that it has created awareness amongst the public about the the situation in the country. I think government has come to the point that it must decide whether to put the country first or themselves. Who do they serve anyway? Laws apply equally to all. If the government want to punish the bloggers, they must also apply the same principles to those who utter insentitive remarks. After all, who started the ball rolling in the first place?

  3. #3 by oedipus on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 12:13 pm

    i think china also practices such crackdown of cyberspace dissent. i didnt know we are also heading that way, the communist way.

  4. #4 by shortie kiasu on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 12:18 pm

    There should be restraints and controls over the borderless blogging, no doublt about it, as in any other forms of information dissemination in the borderless world with IT.

    However, the BN government should not have over-reacted and gone overboard, as though there is a ‘red alert’ in the country. It looks ridiculously naive and childish for the top BN/UMNO leaders to jump on the blog-bashing wagons, to neglect of more important issues of the days.

    There are more bread and butter issues that needs attention of the BN government to resolve in the best possible & equitable ways; rather wasting people’s resources on such unproductive tongue-wagging efforts, as to bash the blogging in the internet.

    Whether what are written in the blogs are truth or not, it is entirely up to the those readers to judge for themselves.

    Not everybody reads all the blogs in the internet, so what is the big deal for the government to spend people’s resources on bashing bloggers?? Financial and other resources could be used for more meaningful and productive endeavours for the benefit of the people to improve their living standards.

  5. #5 by Woody on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 12:18 pm

    Simple crime cannot prevent, want to waste time on the internet.

    Guess if the things affect them they will tale action. We the citizen have to employ our security guard to protect us…… very funny….

  6. #6 by sotong on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 12:27 pm

    For the first time, the government is threatened by the spread of complete, accurate and truthful information to empower the people.

    If one is confident of one’s performance with proof, credibility and integrity, one should not be too concerned of what people say.

    They took advantage of RPK’s case and applied it to all.

    As usual, one step forward, 3 steps backward!

  7. #7 by devilmaster on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 12:32 pm

    I must say that I do not agree that the Dewan Negara is a
    “rubber-stamp” which should be reserved for the Dewan Rakyat for being a rubber-stamp of the Executive, while the Dewan Negara is only a “rubber-stamp to a rubber-stamp”!

    There should be a national debate whether the Senate should be
    scrapped altogether as it has failed to serve its constitutional
    purpose 40(50) years after Merdeka, or whether it should be reformed through make the Senate an elective chamber, which will purge the Dewan Negara of “political has-beens, rejects and deadwoods”.

    by Lim Kit Siang in 1997

  8. #8 by sotong on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 12:45 pm

    Total support of Senate is as expected.

    Politicians are very concerned of being properly scrutinise by the public and do not want to be held responsible and accountable actions/inactions.

    A very sad day for the country and her ordinary people.

  9. #9 by dawsheng on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 12:47 pm

    It looks like UMNO really don’t have a choice but to act according to their plan to clampdown on anti-govt blogs. This only mean one thing; these blogs’ influence has reached an alarming level and has threatened UMNO’s prospects in the coming GE. But I am afraid it is too late for UMNO to react, the truths about the corrupted BN govt has now spread and known all over the world. Will detaining more bloggers help to repair BN govt’s images? hardly. UMNO’s strategy is simple, instill fear in all netizens by picking up a few prominent bloggers as examples that UMNO is not to be mess around with, UMNO is telling us they are the laws. Clampdown on blogs is something we all along expecting, and now it has happened. This also means whatever you expects UMNO to do to stays on to power will be done. But as I say, it will backfire. Malaysians are not stupid.

  10. #10 by DarkJustice on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 1:17 pm

    Only YB Dato Toh Kin Woon from Gerakan is brave enough to step forward to say that the government should stop going after bloggers.

    Toh said the recent arrest of Nathaniel Tan, a blogger affiliated with the opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat, and the call by Umno to take police action against the Malaysia Today website reflected a growing trend towards stifling dissent in the country.

    He said that as the nation moved forward, the government could not be content with promoting development to the detriment of human rights.

    “Civil and political rights such as the right to free speech, dissent and assembly are as important as economic rights such as the right to a job, housing, medical care and education.”

    Hey,hey where are other BN Gerakan,MCA and MIC ?? Chicken Run? or yes man to UMNO???

    If the US Press was not brave in investigating the Watergate scandal in the 70s, President Nixon,USA wrong doings won’t be exposed and forced him to resign. Here in Malaysia, press will be shut down and licence taken away and editors thrown to jail.

    So dont talk big on celebrating 50th Merdeka, it’s a sad case and please dont play dirty politics Nazri and Najib. Are you trying to create another Operasi Lallang 2 before the next General Election? Police reports by UMNO, police immediately took action but not from other opposition or NGOs, what a real double standard !!!! Don’t waste public funds by getting Special Branch to arrest bloggers and opposition members, SB should be out there cleaning crimes in Johor, KL, Penang,Sarawak. Dont take buta gaji!!!

  11. #11 by k1980 on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 1:38 pm

    Have we the political will to confront corruption decisively or have we run out of steam?
    An American private investment banker who had just returned from a “shopping” trip to Malaysia was asked, “Of all the countries in Asia, where would you invest your clients’ money?”
    His reply shook me to the marrow: “Anywhere except Malaysia.”

  12. #12 by i_love_malaysia on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 1:44 pm

    By the way, how Malaysian Gov. is going to clamp down on overseas bloggers?? I suggest just ban all internet access by making it haram.

  13. #13 by lakshy on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 1:51 pm

    Actually these blogs could serve the government too! If they feel there is misinformation, they could correct it and send their posts here for all and sundry to understand. All they need is for their people to read and respond to the posts. Why not take this route? This would show that the government is proactive in addressing and answering issues.

    By listening to the comments on the blogs, they can truly say that they have their ears open for the rakyat!

  14. #14 by raverus on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 2:04 pm

    Mal can’t stop being ridiculous and make joke in the international media.

  15. #15 by Billy on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 2:10 pm

    “……. an administration which is unable to live up to the 2004 general election pledge of an open, accountable and transparent governance.”
    Open, accountable and transparent governance are just too much for these pea-brained politicians to understand and implement. Remember one ex-MB who could not understand English? They have lied in 1999 to SUQUI which was eventually crucified on Merdeka Day in 2000, but the mother of all political cons was the 2004 GE. So many promises, but none delivered even now as we are approaching the next GE. The heat is on and UMNO is in desperate need to do damage control, which I feel is way way too late.

  16. #16 by Daniel Quah on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 2:41 pm

    Blog will sent msg to investor that Malaysia is hell of country from what they know decade ago…thank to Umno..with the NEP they growth rich and richer..while those who support them only know 1 thing..what belong to bumiputra, stay with bumiputra..WAKE UP, Bumi !! how much u benefit from the policy? 5% discount on housing, is that it?

  17. #17 by slashed on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 2:41 pm

    This is funny indeed. If the gov is afraid of misinformation, it merely has to become more transparent. It is its own lack of transparency which creates a perceived democratic deficit or perceptions of corruption in the first place. So eliminate this problem, and they do not have to worry about misinformation. At least not as much.

    Instead of going ‘ppl are always calling us corrupted. And alot of ppl DO think we are corrupted. What can we do about our image?’ the gov usually goes ‘ppl always call us corrupted! they should shut up! we must make them shut up!’. In other words, our gov’s reaction is to always STOP the act, but not to stop the SOURCE of that gave rise to the ACT in the first place.

    Secondly, if they are worried about stupid unfounded rumours (as differentiated from unfounded/misguided/ill-informed administrative criticisms) being spread around, surely they should be able to take legal action in the civil court?

    Thirdly, the second point leads to the next – is the current law against defamation not enough? Would the new blog laws result in rights being more restricted in cyberspace than in real space? If so, what is the justification for this disparity? Is this measure even proportionate to the mischief? As stated in 1. surely there are managerial remedies which would mitigate the occurance of such ‘offences’.

    If there is nothing to hide, there is nothing to be afraid of. When on one hand they create an aura of impenetrability and secrecy, how can they blame the public for making wild guesses as to their true intentions?

    Therefore there are only three possible conclusions; 1. The gov is misguided – always never analysing the real source of the problem before suggesting an answer – which coincidentally usually means some sort of civil rights limitation or massive public spending in dubious programs.

    or 2. They do have something to hide.

    3. All of the above. I.e. STUPID and CORRUPT. Bah.

  18. #18 by sotong on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 2:42 pm

    Talks to stop rampant corruption, abused of power, gross excesses and etc. destroying the country had been going on for years without much to show.

    But they are lightning quick to threaten/stop alternative media with specific mention of religion……….a clear case of misplaced priority and hidden agendas.

  19. #19 by Bigfoot on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 3:10 pm

    What a sad 50th Merdeka this is going to be. Why can”t they look at what bloggers are saying constructively, and act on it? At the end of the day, bloggers have the best interest of the nation at heart.

  20. #20 by Sergei on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 3:16 pm

    Can anyone remember what was Malaysia’s commitment when the MULTIMEDIA SUPER CORRIDOR was launched?

    HA! HA! HA!

  21. #21 by unsatisfied on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 3:34 pm

    I’m one of the many readers in MT and indeed i’m very very sad for RPK, and one thing for sure, my hatred towards BN keeps growing. The more BN work against democracy the more people rejected them, for this DAP should thanks their self destruction.

  22. #22 by Utopia on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 4:29 pm

    In Malaysia, Government governs for the Government. They have no interest in the people. They say wah, my reputation got affected in the internet, lets send police and hunt them.

    Citizens get raped, robbed and killed. They say your problem not mine! Cmon everyone, if you still vote for BN in the coming election, you all are killers, murderers etc. etc. cause you will be voting for a government which rather turns a blind-eye on organised crime but spend resources to curb our FREEDOM!!!

  23. #23 by Utopia on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 4:33 pm

    PS: Only governments which are repressive that tries to curb online information. Malaysia is going the communist way? They say we learn from China ma…

  24. #24 by tidaknama on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 4:35 pm

    Uncle Lim, thank you for your blog, you have indeed opened many eyes to the corrupt and dubious practices of our so called leaders. I hope they will not shut down your blog next!

  25. #25 by Bobster on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 4:39 pm

    Government clamp down on bloggers?! Like to see that. Let’s make it INTERNATIONAL. Be the First Major Screw Up in the cyberworld, biggest joke of the century to the international society.

    Government too ashame to even admit it so have to cover up and go after bloggers! One down but thousands going to raise.

    Let the whole world see the Truth Nothing But The Truth.

  26. #26 by zioburosky13 on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 4:40 pm

    It is natural for human to fear what they don’t understand.
    And really, how many BN member has his/her own blog?
    All they do are just having high-tea all day long!

  27. #27 by Utopia on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 4:45 pm


    Quote: NST: He (Nazri) said bloggers had come to believe they were like members of parliament, who enjoyed immunity to say what they wanted under the law.


    Since when there’s things that MPs can say but common people can’t say? They think they MPs are king and can say whatever they like but when the common people say anything, they’ll arrest them? WTH…

  28. #28 by optimuz on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 5:03 pm

    I think it was meant to say that MP’s enjoyed immunity in Parliament, hence the racist, bodoh and sexist remarks that have made headlines before and never was condemned.

    That said, I do think that the majority of contributors to blogosphere tend to be far too emotional and lack the maturity to debate or present opposing views.

    This, I suspect, is largely due to the lack of analytical discourse whether at schools or even on a social level. You could blame the education system for this, but thats for another day.

    In the absence of balanced media reporting, blogs become the source of opinion, whether political or otherwise. Some factual, some sensationalist, some downright devoid of sense.

    So, the saying ‘taken with a pinch of salt’ and a lot of humour I must say is necessary.

    We need to ignore the agent provocateurs and just focus on the issues – proper governance, transparency, accountability and efficiency.

  29. #29 by AhPek on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 5:22 pm

    It is alright for mike tyson to walk around in an australian airport carrying 2 million dollars.It is alright for toyo to alienate state land to 2 tenagers and to blame some contractor for destroying bukit cakaria.It is alright to allot land for zakaria to build his palace without planning permit and building permit.It is alright for hisamuddin to wave his kris threatening the chinese for daring to make an objection.It is alright for spending millions if not billions on infrastructure only to find that the roofs are leaking and the piping system faulty, not to mention some of the roads are collapsing.It is alright to have such a huge procurement budget allocation to enrich umnoputra.It is alright for the dpm to be making such a horrendous announcement that malaysia is an islamic state.
    How arrogant has this government come to!!!!
    Dear fellow malaysians of all creed and religious persuasions,this is a clear cut example of the age old wisdom “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.Most bloggers must have loved malaysia for they cared enough to have come out to criticise in the way the country is run.Reading Raja Petra’s MT,I have not had any reason to suspect that he is trying to upset the peace of this nation.In fact I see a patriot in him trying to expose the wrongs committed by the powers that be.He has a great following not only in malaysia but also world wide.How else can one interpret the 50 million hits in 1 day at its peak? In fact malaysian readers are in the minority.
    So we must ask those no-brainers how they could tutup the truth?certainly not by banning the bloggers or using strong arm tactics on Raja Petra.

  30. #30 by KL Dude on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 5:22 pm

    As election draws nearer, the ruling party must portray itself to the rakyat as the best candidate and show the rakyat that they are ‘clean’ and reliable. Therefore, all evidence of their wrongdoings or blunders must be eliminated as much as possible in order to ‘blind’ the eyes of the rakyat.

    Bloggers could be their biggest threat now as the truth of any wrongdoing or blunder cannot be conceiled anymore and seem to be flowing out like water in cyberspace. The more ‘truth that is being set free’, the more problem it is in their eyes. So the only way to put a stop to all this is by force and using ‘the law that they themselves have created’ to their advantage.

    However, the problem we’re afraid here is that there could really be some irresponsible bloggers out there who may just be writting something baseless or just to create fire out of the spark.

    These are the bloggers that may spoil the struggle of the others like Uncle Kit who’ve been genuinely upholding the truth and ensuring that check and balance in this country is in place. As they say… “kerana nila setitik, rosak susu sebelanga”.

  31. #31 by greatstuff on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 5:57 pm

    Nazri is a typical wanker with tunnel vision, hell bent on being a control freak? People are fed up, frustrated, and have to vent their feelings- consumer feed back lah!!

  32. #32 by Chong Zhemin on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 6:04 pm

    Uncle Kit,

    The government is seeing the Bloggesphere as a threat to them. And this is actually not a bad thing cos it actually shows how effective are the bloggers reaching out to the people. By the way, just a little comment on the Muhamad son of Muhamad. I just started working last month and i am required to file a tax clearance to IRB prior leaving the country. Did he do the same thing before he left for Australia?

    My questions is why IRB is doing all those trouble to track down normal citizens(not even considered as ikan bilis) leaving the country but they left out big fishes like our ex-selangor MB.

  33. #33 by Jong on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 6:40 pm

    Side-track sikit, YB Lim – Is the Prime Minister of Malaysia dead or alive? Is he alive and kicking?

    How is it that we Malaysians are not aware of his whereabout, even if he is on leave why should it be such a big secret? He is not any Tom, Dick and Harry but the Prime Minister of a country. So many things are happening here yet the Prime Minister even if he is on leave, should at least show some concern at the way his monkeys are conducting themselves!

  34. #34 by Godfather on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 7:03 pm

    The time for talking is over, now is the time to act. The time to act against all the fraudulent nutcases in UMNO that swore to serve the public, and swore to uphold their religious beliefs. To UMNO, stealing, lying, cheating, abuse of power are not crimes. When UMNO lodges a report, the person against whom the report is lodged gets summoned for an interview. When we lodge a report against UMNO, it goes into a black hole.

    Did the police investigate Muhamad’s trangressions in Australia – the carrying of cash in a suitcase, the purchase of properties in his wife’s name ? Did the police investigate Nazri’s role in the award of over 1,000 taxi licences ? Did the police investigate Taib Mahmud’s family wealth ? Did the police investigate Zakaria Mat Deros ? What happened to the investigations on close-one-eye MP for Jasin ?

    Did UMNO not insult Islam by condoning gambling and the consumption of liquor ? Did UMNO not insult Islam by allowing their members to gamble, consume alcohol and mess about with women ? Did UMNO not insult Islam by allowing their members to sit on the boards of gaming companies ?

    Nazri: I am happy to have an open debate with you, provided you give me equal access to the press, and to the TV stations. If not, I consider you a coward, a liar and a hypocrite.

  35. #35 by tzarina on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 7:20 pm

    Dear Kit,

    I would like nothing better than to vote for change. However, I am an expat in the UK who is NOT ALLOWED to vote. Can you get someone in the EC to clarify this…why only students and civil servants can vote from overseas??? Every other country I know allows their citizens to vote at their embassies!

    Please take this issue up in Parliment, since many enlightened people are actually overseas.

  36. #36 by bystander on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 8:20 pm

    Discrimination/racism is legalised by malaysian govt to benefit malays. Muslims are better treated in Uk, EU & USA than minorities in malaysia. Mosques are allowed in USA & UK whilst churches and temples in malaysia are demolished.

  37. #37 by mwt on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 8:25 pm

    It is unfortunate that bloggers seem to get into trouble from the comments left in their blogs. Nat suffered the same dilemma over a comment but RPK would be in hotter soup as the commenters at his site are practically set free to comment. He is puzzled by the date Jul 11 post which does not exist. But comments just before that date seemed to be the ones referred to. Up to press time at 8pm today, he was inside the interview room since about noon. His wife & other supporters were there for him
    For more details and pictures of Mat Taib & his gang of 30 who made the report, check it out at:

  38. #38 by tzarina on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 8:41 pm

    Check out BBC coverage on this issue.

  39. #39 by MWong on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 9:39 pm

    ‘The PEN is mightier than the swords’!

    The no-brainers are so afraid of the Bloggers who tear apart evil masks by using their pen.

    Sorry to hear bout that. Im not aware of this either, coz im a postgrad myself, and ive confirmed my eligibility to vote both in Msia(registered) and the UK embassy.

    Yeah, it doesnt make any sense that EXPAT loses it voter eligibility simply because he/she is in abroad. Uncle Kit, any chance to clarify?

  40. #40 by undergrad2 on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 10:18 pm

    What shocks me is not that they have yesterday called for Petra to make his Sec. 112 statement as provided for under the Criminal Procedure Code but they waited this long to do so.

    Judging from past records Petra has gone beyond being a thorn in their side to being a ‘threat to national security” as defined by them in past cases. They could have knocked on his door any time of day or night, dragging him screaming and kicking, to a life behind barbed wire on some lonely island in the South Pacific Ocean, a life of not even roti canai and fish curry (without the ‘kepala’) at the pleasure of his Majesty’s Service but perhaps ikan bilis which he would have to catch himself.

  41. #41 by dawsheng on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 10:45 pm

    “What shocks me is not that they have yesterday called for Petra to make his Sec. 112 statement as provided for under the Criminal Procedure Code but they waited this long to do so.”

    Well, this it how it happened when the country has a sleepy PM.

  42. #42 by firehawk on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 10:47 pm

    Bloggers we must unite and give BN and especially UMNO the message that we bloggers are not going to be threathened by such acts of cowardice.

  43. #43 by undergrad2 on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 11:00 pm

    “Well, this it how it happened when the country has a sleepy PM.” dawsheng

    Who says you have to be sleepy to be sleeping?? Jeanne Danker Abdullah would be the first to prove you wrong!

  44. #44 by dawsheng on Wednesday, 25 July 2007 - 11:12 pm

    “Who says you have to be sleepy to be sleeping?? Jeanne Danker Abdullah would be the first to prove you wrong!” Undergrad2

    Hmmm… could it be the PM is sleep walking then? If not, it must be a match made in heaven??

  45. #45 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 26 July 2007 - 12:00 am

    Defacto law minister, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz (a lawyer by training) who declared war against bloggers knows that the war against a web master and blog owner like Raja Petra Kamaruddin (RPK) is, at the present moment, difficult (without enabling legislation).

    That is precisely why he said that “the government was also looking at formulating new laws allowing it to monitor and act against offending bloggers in areas not provided by these legislation”…..

    For the likes of RPK who personally writes a mix of truth and fiction on who and who is corrupt, how does a person threatened by his allegations of corruption shut him up?

    There are two options: the first is to sue him under civil proceedings for libel/defamation; and the second, to prosecute him for offences under Sedition Act, Penal Code, Multimedia Act 1998.

    The main problem that both civil proceedings for libel/defamation and prosecution under Sedition Act, Penal Code, Multimedia Act 1998 pose is that they all implicate a public trial to which an alleged offender like RPK is entitled to. That is where RPK is saved by his propensity to mix both truth and falsehood – because the moment one nails him on the part that is false he exposes in a public trial the part that is true, which consequences are unacceptable to the corrupt.

    [This means that the only option to silence him is to use the Internal Security Act which empowers authorities to incarcerate without public trial. But this option is again not viable because firstly RPK had been detained before under ISA and the experience had, far from deterring him, made him more vociferous instead. Besides it strains credulity to label a big mouth blogger an anti national element and a threat to “internal security”. Such a detention would be widely construed here and abroad as plain repression).

    With that option out, one really cannot nail RPK personally for the many allegations of corruption he made against powerful personalities no matter that some parts of allegations are true and others fiction.

    What else is left? Yes we can nail him on grounds that he disparaged Islam or the King but then again he was too smart to fall for that because the truth is there is nothing in what he had personally written that was disparaging to either Islam or the King.

    I am sure however that what his readers commented could be construed in many occasions as disparaging to either Islam or the King of which he did little moderation or deletion as the more prudent YB Kit in this blog does. This is because his blog has the unenviable distinction of being an un-moderated political blog deliberately calculated to test Pak Lah’s commitment to Freedom of Expression.

    This leads to other question – can one hold him vicariously responsible to answer and pay for his readers’ indiscretion and seditious remarks against Islam or the King that RPK does not bother to moderate or delete?

    That is the heart of the question, and the lack of clear law (whether civil or criminal law) at this moment that he could actually be held accountable is the main problem that both his detractors and the authorities face today. This is because Internet use and proliferation of blogs are recent phenomena in this country that court decisions have not caught up yet with to make a determination on the position.

    Coming back to the two options once again – civil or criminal proceedings.

    Take the first : If one sues RPK for damages in civil proceedings for what his readers have commented on corruption, there are immediately two obstacles : (1) the same earlier problem of certain unsavoury details of corrupt behaviour would be disclosed in a public trial; (2) he would say he is not vicariously responsible to answer for his readers’ comments. An employer is vicariously answerable for wrong doings of his employees because employees are under the employer’s control and direction but here lies the difference – the web master/blog owner has no control over the readers’ comments which often may even contradict or refute what the blog owner wrote, never mind that the other salient point that the blog owners know nothing of the reader commenting behind the veil of a fanciful nick/handle or even several different nicks and handles!

    This brings us to the second option of criminal proceedings. Now it is here that there is great difficulty to nail an offence on webmaster/blog owner RPK for what ANOTHER person (the reader/commenter) – unknown even to the webmaster/blog owner – has wrongfully done. In modern criminal law one is punished only for what one has personally done based on principle of responsibility, and not what others have done. Only in olden times under the laws of barbarians the son had to be beheaded for the sins of his father!

    This is what Malaysiakini reported of what RPK said after seven hours of interrogation in Dang Wangi police station: (To quote – Raja Petra said that his interrogation was NOT ABOUT his ARTICLES BUT ABOUT COMMENTS (LEFT BY READERS) ; that he was asked to reveal the identity of people who had posted comments on his site. He said that he was shown a list of 12 comments which were attached to the police report made by Umno and wanted to know who the writers were”. “I refuse to talk about the comments… because I would only talk about what I wrote and not what other people wrote”, RPK added….

    This is where the police/investigators are in a quandary – RPK refused to divulge the Internet protocol of the readers making the disparaging remarks. How to resolve this? Yes the police could seize two of his personal computers but the important information on readers’ IP is not stored there but overseas in some hidden proxy servers!

    Now here’s the crux of the problem: one can’t nail him for making a mix of true and false corruption allegations against others (which he actually did) because in a public trial he would spill the beans on those parts true. At the same time one can’t get him for causing “disharmony, disunity, or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will” under the Penal Code and Sedition Act because he did not personally write any disparaging articles against Islam or the King – it was his readers who did whose offensive comments he neither moderated nor deleted! And he would disclose their IP ; and the IP could not be found in his personal computers; and he would not cooperate.

    This is only but one recourse left – nail him under the Multimedia Act 1998. There is here again one major problem. To get RPK one has to impute an offence unto him for not moderating and deleting his readers’ offensive comments after they were posted, which he did not bother.

    Under what law can one get RPK for this?

    The only precedent we had was the earlier one involving Jeff Ooi’s Screenshot. There one reader an obvious TDM’s admirer Ilmran posted in Screenshot “‘Shoot this Gunasegaram for good’ because theSun and Nexnews Group Executive Editor P. Gunasegaram had earlier challenged TDM to 27 or 29 questions!

    The matter was settled by mediation resulting in an apology from both Ilmran and Jeff to Gunasegaram with an advisory from the Communications and Multimedia Content Forum Complaints Bureau pursuant to the Mediation Results set forth on August 29, 2006

    The advisory declared, “Any comments posted on this blog that are obscene, blasphemous, racial or overtly threatening, including the use of partial words or phrases where the intent is clearly offensive, will be removed immediately by the host. Such comment could also render the person posting them liable to legal action or prosecution.

    RPK did not observe advisory from the Communications and Multimedia Content Forum Complaints Bureau. Is that breaking the law or committing an offence under the Multimedia Act 1998?

    Answer is likely “ no” . An advisory albeit from the Communications and Multimedia Content Forum Complaints Bureau is at best as the word suggests “an advice” and not mandatory law under Multimedia Act 1998.

    Short of sending in under Internal security Act or making him accountable for his allegations of corruption, which has already been explained earlier to be not feasible or viable options, RPK has committed no offence under the Penal Code or the Sedition Act or the Multimedia Act 1998 because the ones that made disparaging remarks of Islam and the King are not him but his readers for whom he is personally not accountable in criminal law – neither did his apparent breach of the advisory from the Communications and Multimedia Content Forum Complaints Bureau constitute an offence under the Multimedia Act 1998 because an advisory, as the name suggests, is not law.

    RPK for these reasons is untouchable by any criminal law prosecution and that is why he has the gall to thank UMNO by saying, “Thanks should also be given to Umno the ruling party […] my meagre 2.2 to 2.4 million hits are now 5 million because of the police report,” he told the BBC correspondent in Kuala Lumpur.

    They now have to scurry back to the drawing board of the Attorney General’s office to draft a new law to address this specific problem of a blog owner escaping punishment for what offensive remarks his readers posted that blog owner disd not moderate or delete!

  46. #46 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 26 July 2007 - 12:10 am

    Sorry for typo omission in capitals somewhere in middle – should be “And he would NOT disclose their IP”

  47. #47 by takazawa on Thursday, 26 July 2007 - 1:12 am

    I dream of one day that I can walk out to the streets with sheer confidence and rob, rape and kill someone with no worries. No one ever told me so but I was indeed made to believe that I can get off the hook easily because the authority has publicly declared that their main priority is to go after and detain the person who reports my killing, and not me.

    MPs who claim to be the representatives of the Rakyat can afford to say controversial things in Parliament. All they have to do is to retract their statements and declared it as “personal views” or rather it should be treated as mere “humour” and they would be let off the hook.

    Bloggers who are well perceived to be the people who voice out their personal opinions and sentiments over the net can now be DETAINED under some barbaric law such as the ISA/OSA, as their comments can influence and represent public opinion so that the majority of the people would know who to vote for in the next GE.

    So should we now pledge and launch an official request to PM to sack all the ass licking dirtbags in Parliament and replace them with more influential bloggers?

    Hoi, Encik Dollah! Kau masih tidur dan mimpi ke? Atau masih dalam bulan madu?

  48. #48 by dawsheng on Thursday, 26 July 2007 - 2:00 am

    “They now have to scurry back to the drawing board of the Attorney General’s office to draft a new law to address this specific problem of a blog owner escaping punishment for what offensive remarks his readers posted that blog owner disd not moderate or delete!” Jeffrey

    Will this go against the Bill of Guarantee that the internet shall not be censored to curb freedom of speech and expression?

  49. #49 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 26 July 2007 - 4:07 am

    If they really want Petra, all they need do is detain him under the ISA. No charge. No counsel. No trial. Just the Minister of Internal Affairs issuing a letter. No judicial review.

    It is obvious that they want to make him an example to other bloggers. Maybe test some of their new laws.

  50. #50 by Godfather on Thursday, 26 July 2007 - 8:03 am

    There will be such an international outcry if they detain RPK or any other blogger under the ISA. In fact it will spell the end of the free trade talks with the USA.

    Even thieves need face.

  51. #51 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 26 July 2007 - 8:09 am

    Dawsheng asked if enacting new laws to curb the effects of an unmoderated blog like RPK’s Malaysia Today would go against the Bill of Guarantee signed for Multimedia Super Corridor?

    The guarantee is for freedom of internet and freedom of expression within but even the international community and liberal voices in progressive jurisdictions would go that far to say that Freedom here may be translated into “absolute” freedom and license to spread falsehoods and harm others’ reputation and careers by defaming them via the Internet.

    It has always been the case that even in progressive societies the quest is not for one desirable principle of Freedom of Speech only but also the freedom to be protected from harm of being unjustifiably defamed out of malice rather than fair comment!

    Hence to make new laws to seek such a “balance” of the imperatives of Freedom of Speech against the Freedom to be protected from calumny of slander, libel and defamation may not necessarily be construed as a breach of Bill of Guarantee.

    Besides, the present bunch of guys up there are more interested in what feathers their present nest than the past interest of Tun Dr Mahathir’s pet projects, whether MSC and Bills of Guarantee or Proton, Labuan offshore Centre, the Crooked Bridge to S’pore etc

    So I think they would try make the laws but such laws will only have deterrent value to an extent but will not have the “teeth” to bite ie enforced effectively.

    For the Internet, Blogs, postings made under anonymity and IP data stored in overseas servers pose very unique challenge and technical obstacle to any authority whether here (as they found in RPK) or in other more progressive western jurisdictions.

    Even if you have such laws there is much difficulties to get tangible admissible evidence to satisfy the demands of legal due process in courts: to go all the way is such a protracted and costly process, that it is simply not worth the while from the practical stand point!

    For reasons of which the drift in progressive jurisdictions is necessarily a decreasing emphasis on enforcing usual laws on defamation/libel that awards monetary compensation to those innocently victimized by libel in blogs or prosecution by criminal law against irresponsible bloggers – not because the laws are no more important or the need to protect the innocent against spurious allegations posted on the Net is no more relevant or desired but it is because of difficulty of enforcement due to difficulty or costliness of tracing the source and procuring evidence.

    That is also why increasingly the emphasis is on the rights of response or reply by the individuals who were defamed on the very forum or even elsewhere to correct and dispel the offending allegation.

    Meanwhile there is really little one can do to the likes of RPK who knows the score and the game of how to harness and leverage on the Internet. Round One of Mike Tyson versus RPK would go to RPK because Mike Tyson does not understand the unique challenges posed by Internet and that is way using hackneyed ways like raising Islam and King being disparaged by commenters against 3rd party like RPK only serves harassment value but has no “bite” in real terms of prosecuting him.

    Police understands this : that is why the interrogators wasted 8 hours trying to get the IPs of the commenters from him in vain!

    Yes, the best way to silence RPK and bloggers is still resorting to the Internal Security Act as what Undergrad2 mentioned but as I said ISA is no more in vogue and fashion to deal with Cyber dissidents who are viewed by readers/public as champions to expose corruption. By no means can a cyber dissident be considered an anti national element whether Communist, Triad leaders or Jemiah Islamiya that the draconian ISA is supposed to be used against!

    To crack down on likes of RPK by OSA is then like seeking to hammer a small gnat that inflicts an itch that doesn’t go away with a huge mallet/sledger where the end result does not justify the means : one’s image is straightaway dealt a blow from domestic civil socioeties and opposition not to mention the international furore from Amnesty International and Transparency International etc crying “repression” and ranking Malaysia several notches again down their scale whilst meanwhile RPK in Kamunting will have more time to read and write and doing same damage though on a greater scale unimpeded with help from his ten servers overseas.

  52. #52 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 26 July 2007 - 8:11 am

    Sorry again typo omission in 2nd para – “liberal voices in progressive jurisdictions would NOT go that far to…”

  53. #53 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 26 July 2007 - 8:26 am

    The better – and more practical way – is to tempt RPK with untold riches, UMNO’s privatised contracts, get him on their side and get a mouth piece like him to stop the unrelenting pressure to expose the BN’s bigwigs and instead persuade him by carrot to write more exposing those in the Opposition parties, how in spite of rhetorics for example so and so in DAp is making money or so in so in PKR is a hypocrite or so and so in PAS in the Kelantan State Govt is awarding timber and land to businessmen for monetary rewards. I am sure RPK is competent to get a few truths here and there and then extrapolate them big way to show Opposition is in same boat as those in BN except smaller scale since Opposition has not yert the hand on the levers of power to award Contracts big way!

    Here again main obstacle is RPK’s integrity. He may not want to play ball.

    Then again it is the tenet of principle amongst the “thieves” [to borrow Godfather’s favourite expression] that everyone can be bought at a price. The question is as always how much.

    Some you have to pay a lot because the integrity/principle is very high up there but it still can be bought but you have to pay substantially more. Others less principled the price is cheaper.

    Moral of the story – if you want to get rich fast and be bought : be a clever cyber gnat like RPK, have your sources, create alot of discomfort amongst powers to be but make sure they cannot latch unto any law to nail you but have to pay you off instead to silence you or work fior them against the Opposition by some lucrative contracts, packaged with datukship and other privileges symbolic of success in our feudal society!

  54. #54 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Thursday, 26 July 2007 - 8:36 am

    What an ANIMAL FARM indeed!!!!!!!!!!!!

  55. #55 by vongmichael on Thursday, 26 July 2007 - 9:24 am

    Thank you, Jefrey, for those illuminating pieces of wisdom. An expose by someone courageous as RPK is welcome, because the rest of us wont get to first base if we do it. Granted that some of RPK’s statements needed to be checked out, I believe, of the many that he has written about, most have proven to be true!

    This is where the police comes in – to check out the claims, and arrest the wrong doers! Certainly not the messenger…

  56. #56 by Loh33 on Thursday, 26 July 2007 - 9:25 am


    I can’t submit comments under Loh

  57. #57 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Thursday, 26 July 2007 - 9:25 am

    Jeffrey says:
    “In modern criminal law one is punished only for what one has personally done based on principle of responsibility, and not what others have done. Only in olden times under the laws of barbarians the son had to be beheaded for the sins of his father!”

    Just a wee bit of correction here. They can so draft any new law to incorporate elements of strict liability which may mean one can be responsible (even vicariously) for things done outside one’s ambit of control.

    I think the difficulty posed to the prosecutorial authorities must be that the host server is overseas. So where is the offence committed? Malaysians who post comments on CNN, BBC, NYTimes, Washington Post etc., even if seditious etc. can’t possibly be hauled up under any Malaysian law. Their audience and viewership is international. So, if my argument holds water, RPK’s blog could get off the leash just like it was CNN etc. The ‘offence’ against Malaysian laws ‘occured’ in USA or Europe or whatever… And the posters may well be foreigners too…and you can’t even bait those monkeys let alone drag them to our courts. But, of course, if RPK cooperates with the authorities and spills the IPs, then Malaysians who posted those incriminatory comments may suffer. That, God forbids, is most unlikely. RPK is too much of a Prince of INtegrity rather than a princeling of INjustice.

    That much said, it behooves all posters to be careful not to overstep the boundaries of what’s fair and proper comment and to avoid anything inflammatory, sacrilegious, racist or regicidal.

    I must take a parting shot at Nazri’s unwarranted and vehement outburst. One cannot help but pity his uncontrolled mouthful (which is typically NAzri. Remember his ‘racist! racist! racist! outburst in parliament and his infamous ‘bodoh! bodoh! bodoh! outcry? Wonder who is racist and who is ‘bodoh’, his law degree notwithstanding!). So, NAzri, taking RPK’s blog for instance, just tell us precisely what is wrong with his exposes or forever hold your peace.

  58. #58 by AsIseeit on Thursday, 26 July 2007 - 9:36 am

    Personally, what the govt is doing is counter-productive to what they are intending to do; that is, garner votes for the next GE.

    Many people do not now believe in what is written in the mainline media. They turn to alternative news. It is important for alternative news to always be credible and rational in what they say so that they can be an effective hearing or rather reading by people.

    In view of what UMNO is trying to do to RPK and Malaysia Today, it is important to set up a comprehensive blog that can direct anyone to all the alternative news that are responsible and credible.

    Further, if one person can inform ten other persons of such alternative news/websites it will certainly help to make for a better informed Malaysian public. However, this is not to say that I believe all that is written in the alternative blogs either, as everyone has a different agenda of their own.

    Blogging must go on! There must be free speech even though I may disagree with the views expressed.

  59. #59 by KL Dude on Thursday, 26 July 2007 - 9:38 am

    Dear Jeffrey,

    You seem to have enlighthened everyone in depth. Hope your comments will not stir the hornet’s nest… he he.

    Thanks anyway friend for your well written comments.

  60. #60 by Cinapek on Thursday, 26 July 2007 - 9:48 am

    The blogger issue for the BN Govt. is like the Chinese saying “to have your private parts caught in between the bed planks (olden days we use individual planks on beds for sleeping). Move sakit. Don’t move, also sakit”

    All said and done, it is a move of desperation. With the GE coming, they are afraid of more revelations by Malaysia Today. More so when they cannot refute them. But they fail to realise that their desperate acts of repression only serves to raise more suspicions.

  61. #61 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Thursday, 26 July 2007 - 9:50 am

    Ha, ha. Only the government is Malaysian!

    Non-Sanctioned Celebrations Will Not Be Allowed On Merdeka Eve

    KUALA LUMPUR, July 25 (Bernama) — The Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry will not allow any celebrations which conflict with the special Merdeka (Independence) eve programme scheduled at Dataran Merdeka before midnight on Aug 30.

  62. #62 by sotong on Thursday, 26 July 2007 - 12:40 pm

    Under what law can they get RPK for this? – Jeffery.

    They will make it up as they go to suit their objectives and circumtances.

  63. #63 by shaolin on Thursday, 26 July 2007 - 12:48 pm

    Why the BIG MONKEYs are messing around our Bloggers?
    Are the UMNOs fear and afraid of bloggers telling the
    TRUTH to the Whole World?

    Bloggers Must continue to dig out More ‘Dirts’ being swept
    under the carpets!!!

    Do it Without FEAR and PREJUDICE!! Tell the Whole the TRUTH,
    Nothing But The Truth!!!

  64. #64 by dawsheng on Thursday, 26 July 2007 - 1:51 pm

    There’s are many big leakages in UMNO, someone inside is clearly not happy with how the party elders are conducting themselves. Instead of scaring bloggers and netizens, the should work hard to pacth all the holes. UMNo’s enemies is from within, do you know what that means?

  65. #65 by rajanjohn on Thursday, 26 July 2007 - 2:15 pm

    Internet Adalah HARAM di kalang masyarakat MALAYSIA..
    Wawasan 2008!

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