Archive for category Media

We are all The Malaysian Insider

Jahabar Sadiq
14 Mar 2016

COMMENT | The Malaysian Insider shuts down tonight. No words can adequately express the entire spectrum of feelings I have for this moment, and all the moments since late 2007 when a few of us thought of setting up a news portal.

I was in Reuters Television then, and had signed a contract to work in Jakarta as a senior producer. It would be good to look at Malaysia from afar, after having spent a decade as a television producer in Malaysia.

The job was never just about Malaysia, as it involved the region.

To cut a long story short, I came back in 2010 to run The Malaysian Insider and take care of my parents. and It has been a roller coaster ride focussed just on Malaysia.

There were no more exotic locales or tales from the wild side, I thought. This is Malaysia, easy enough to cover with predictable storylines. But Malaysia was changing and I had to keep up with the changes too. Read the rest of this entry »

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Another infamy chalked up in Najib’s seven-year premiership – the death of The Malaysian Insider

Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s seven-year reign as the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia had added another casualty in its long list of infamies – the death of news portal The Malaysian Insider (TMI) from midnight.

Najib and his new Communications and Multimedia Minister, Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak may feel proud of their “achievement” in the death of TMI, especially with the government blocking of the news portal last month, but to decent and thinking Malaysians, there can be no joy but immense sadness at the death of TMI, whose travails in the past eight years reflect the agonies and trials of Malaysia to become a normal democratic country where the fundamental liberties enshrined in the Merdeka Constitution in 1957 are living guarantees and not meaningless words.

Clearly those in power have forgotten the 20-year Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) guarantee of “No Internet Censorship” with the Malaysian government under Najib prepared to take Malaysia backwards to the dark age instead of forward to the Information Society.

Malaysians pay tribute to the TMI editor Jahabar Sadiq and all the TMI journalists for their contribution in bringing Malaysia towards the light of information and accountability, fighting the darkness of censorship and secrecy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Goodbye from The Malaysian Insider

The Malaysian Insider
14 March 2016

Goodbye readers from near and far, and those reading us in Malaysia despite the government block.

The Edge Media Group has decided to shut down The Malaysian Insider from midnight today, for commercial reasons. Perhaps it is fitting that we go offline at the start of the Ides of March.

I hope we have served you well since our first day of going live on February 25, 2008. And I hope others will continue to serve you in our absence.

We worked as impartial journalists to inform Malaysians and other readers so that they make informed decisions. We worked to make all voices heard in this marketplace of ideas.

But our work in The Malaysian Insider has now come to an end in a Malaysia that more than ever requires more clarity, transparency and information. Read the rest of this entry »

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Arrest of Australian journalists latest climax of Najib’s twin mega scandals haunting and hounding Malaysia to a new international level

Malaysia is today a greater news in the world than in the country, for three reasons:

Firstly, there is media control and censorship in the country.

Secondly, the arrest of two Australian journalists from ABC Four Corners programme for “aggressively” posing questions to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak in Kuching.

Thirdly, catapulting Sarawak general elections into international news even before the dissolution of the Sarawak State Assemby and the holding of Sarawak state general elections, as Najib was in Kuching to carry out pre-dissolution general election campaign.

I have just read the report that the Attorney-General’s Chambers is considering action against the two ABC News journalists , reporter Linton Besser and camera operator Louis Eroglu, who were in Malaysia to investigate a local corruption scandal and who have had their passports seized despite being released after questioning yesterday.

They were previously detained for allegedly approaching the Prime Minister aggressively.

I am horrified by the very clumsy and ham-fisted manner in handling the case of the ABC Four Corners journalists. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib making fatal mistake of underestimating the intelligence of Internet users in Malaysia to be able to differentiate truth from falsehoods in 14GE just as Pak Lah made the fatal mistake in 12GE in 2008 in underestimating the impact of Internet

Let me preface my speech with some observations about what the distinguished panelists have said this evening.

Firstly, the special appearance of the founder of Sarawak Report, Claire Brown from United Kingdom on Skype including a question-and-answer session with the audience in this hall highlights the futility of those in power to censor or control the flow of information in the Internet era.

Secondly, thanks to the government ban on The Malaysian Insider, more Malaysians have acquired the very simple skills of circumventing the Internet walls erected by Putrajaya to block access to The Malaysian Insider and other websites, with The Malaysian Insider becoming The Malaysian Outsider, getting acquainted with Unblocking sites and the “wide wide wide” world of Internet devoted to fighting all forms of Internet censorship. This is because all the secrets of overcoming Internet censorship can be mastered in a few minutes by searching the solutions on the Internet.

The CEO of Malaysiakini, Premesh Chandran had rightly cited the “tsunami” loss of UMNO/Barisan Nasional in the 12th General Election in 2008 to the Internet as the Prime Minister at the time, Tun Abdullah had subsequently admitted his “serious misjudgment” in underestimating the power of the Internet, losing the cyberwar to the Opposition. Read the rest of this entry »


Breaking our silence

Lyana Khairuddin
The Malaysian Insider
2 March 2016

It has been quite a week for all of us affiliated with The Malaysian Insider.

The outpouring of support from the public only amplified the debate on our freedom of expression and access to information. It appears that Malaysians collectively need to stand up for our rights, to be empowered by information and be allowed critical thought process rather than continue to be infantilised by the powers that be.

Further, the decision to block a whole website over one article seems an over exaggeration. The impact is an oppressive silencing of many diverse Malaysian voices that is allowed a platform through this portal.

We are now forced to be outsiders, yet our concerns and voices remain Malaysian. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia Broadens Media Crackdown As Political Scandal Worsens

By Mong Palatino
The Diplomat
March 02, 2016

Internet freedom suffers as Najib’s embattled government tries to fight off the deepening 1MDB scandal.

Since last month, the Malaysian government has blocked three news websites and three socio-political blogs. Meanwhile, the police have threatened Internet users who will share satirical clown memes of Prime Minister Najib Razak.

These reports are troubling and somewhat ironic considering the fact that the government’s Multimedia Super Corridor program supposedly guarantees Internet freedom. Yet those who are familiar with the corruption scandal involving Najib and its massive political impact will immediately recognize these acts as a desperate attempt to silence critical voices that can mobilize public opinion against the ruling party.

Despite being cleared of committing any wrongdoing by the attorney general, Najib is still hounded by accusations that he received illegal fund transfers from 1MDB, a state-run investment firm. Najib admitted that he has $600 million in his personal bank accounts but he claimed the money was a political donation from a royal family in the Middle East. The scandal sparked intense protests across Malaysia and some of Najib’s allies even called for his resignation. Though Najib remains the head of the ruling coalition, his credibility has been tainted.

It would not be a stretch to suggest that the suspension of some newspapers last year and the recent censoring of news websites and blogs are part of the machinations of Najib’s faction to stop the further spread of information concerning the corruption scandal. Read the rest of this entry »

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DAP’s most important and challenging tests are not in the past 50 years but in next 20, 30 years

It was exactly 30 years ago that I moved from Kota Melaka parliamentary seat to Penang to contest in Tanjong constituency – the Battle of Tanjong of 1986 – against the incumbent Dr. Koh Tsu Koon who was to become the Penang Chief Minister for four terms spanning 18 years from 1990 to 2008.

DAP comrades in Penang had in fact suggested in early seventies that I move to Penang to lead the DAP charge to make Penang the “engine head” for political change in Malaysia, and although this suggestion was made at every subsequent general election, I had not agreed to the move from “south to north” until the 1986 general election.

Although the subsequent “Battles of Tanjong 2 and Tanjong 3” in 1990 and 1995 did not succeed in DAP capturing the Penang State Government, this objective was finally achieved in the 2008 and 2013 General Elections, and it is my hope that Penang will not only continue to be the seat of DAP-led Penang State Government, but the base for the achievement of federal change of government in Putrajaya in the next 14th General Election.

Although the DAP is now celebrating our 50th anniversary, I believe that the DAP’s most important and challenging tests are not in the past 50 years, but in the next 20 to 30 years.
We want the DAP message of justice, freedom, good governance and national unity not just to ring loud and clear in Penang but throughout Malaysia, in Peninsula Malaysia as well as in Sarawak and Sabah.
DAP is in the throes of an important transition, and we must be guided by two challenging objectives and principles. Read the rest of this entry »


Sliding towards an authoritarian state

Ooi Kok Hin
The Malaysian Insider
27 February 2016

A government that uses state agencies to silent its critics. A government that demands loyalty from mainstream media.

A government that abuses state resources for its political advantage and distributes propaganda books in the universities. A government that bans a newspaper and threatens its critics with sedition.

Is this Malaysia, Egypt, Thailand or North Korea?

On its eighth birthday, The Malaysian Insider is banned by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) in the name of “national security”.

The country is becoming more and more unrecognisable. When I read the news these days, I feel a tinge of shame and anger because these are the kind of news that are reported from and about despotic regimes around the world. Is this really Malaysia and not North Korea, Egypt or Thailand? Read the rest of this entry »


Has Guan Eng rocketed from a jailbird to become Malaysia’s 22nd richest person worth RM2.87 billion – in the league of Robert Kuok and Ananda Krishnan?

What a coincidence!

The same day that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak lumped news portals with “keyboard warriors and cybertroopers” for “unhealthy practice of journalism” in an attempt to justify the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) blockade of the news portal The Malaysian Insider, there was another blast of lies against the DAP.

This was in the form of an alleged list of the “richest” persons in Malaysia (below) circulated on the Internet, with the DAP Secretary-General and Penang Chief Minister listed as the No. 22 “richest” person in Malaysia, worth RM2.87 billion – preceded by 21 “richest” in Malaysia, ranging from Robert Kuok (RM42.2b), Ananda Krishnan (RM31.2b), Quek Leng Chan (22.3b) Teh Hong Piow (19.6b), Lee Shin Cheng (RM19.4), Lim Kok Thay (19.2b), Yeoh Tiong Lay (RM9.5b), Lao Cho Kun (RM6.5b), Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary (RM6.1b), Surin Upatkoon (RM4.8b), Kuan Kam Hon (RM4.6b), Tiong Hiew King (RM4.2b), Danny Tan Chee Sing (RM4.1b), G. Gnanalingam (RM4.06b), Lee Oi Hian & Lee Hau Hian (RM3.86b), Desmond Lim Siew Choon (RM3.82b), Vincent Tan (RM3.8b), Jeffrey Cheah (RM3.65b), Yaw Teck Seng & Yaw Chee Ming (RM3.16b), Goh Peng Ooi (RM3.06b), Tan Heng Chew, Eng Soon & Eng Hwa (RM2.9b) – and richer than others like Chen Lip Keong (RM2.61b), Ahmadyuddin Ahmad (RM2.42b),Lim Kuang Sia (RM2.4b), Lim Kang Hoo (RM2.32b), Shahril & Shahriman Shamsuddin (RM2.04b), Mokhzani Mahathir (RM2.02b), Ngau Boon Keat (RM2b), Ninian Mogan Lourdenadin RM1.98b),Azman Hashim (RM1.96b), Lim Teck Meng (RM1.48b), Chong Chook Yew (RM1.43b), Kong Hon Kong (RM1.37b), Leong Hoy Kum (RM1.24b), etc.

Has Guan Eng rocketed from a jailbird to become Malaysia’s 22nd richest person worth RM2.87 billion – in the league of Robert Kuok and Ananda Krishnan?

I did a quick search and found that it was Forbe’s 2016 Ranking of Malaysia’s 50 Richest, and the list was as correct except for Guan Eng’s listing as No. 22’s Richest, when it should be Lim Wee Chai. Read the rest of this entry »


Banning The Malaysian Insider is like using a sledgehammer to kill a fly – what is the Najib government trying to hide?

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, seems to be fulfilling his vow made during the recent commemoration of his 40 years of involvement of politics – with reams and reams of congratulatory advertorials finally paid for by the taxpayers – that he would strive to take Malaysia to “greater heights”.

Malaysia had never achieved “greater heights” in corruption than under the Najib premiership – being named third in the world’s “worst corruption scandals in 2015” and dropping four places in Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2015.

Now, Najib has brought Malaysia to a new “greater height” of being the first Prime Minister in Malaysia to violate the 20-year Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) Bill of Guarantees of “No Censorship of the Internet”, a guarantee made by Tun Dr. Mahathir when he was Prime Minister “as a gift to the world”, with the ban yesterday on the news portal, The Malaysian Insider.

Described world-wide as the latest in a series of clampdowns on media organisations that have published reports critical of the government and the Prime Minister, particularly over Najib’s RM55 billion 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” twin mega scandals, Malaysians and international opinion can only ask Najib what is he trying to hide and suppress when he has to use a sledgehammer to try to kill a fly and cannot rely anymore on the plain truth and nothing but the truth to win in the world of ideas? Read the rest of this entry »

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Would a person like Najib have survived as China’s top leader with two mega scandals swirling around him causing the country to be named No. 3 in world’s “worst corruption scandals in 2015” and the subject of investigation by seven different countries, including by US FBI, whether he is a kleptocrat?

The Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamad Apandi Ali allowed a rare but very insightful though frightening peep into his mind in his interview with Sin Chew Daily today.

Apandi’s interview deserve fuller dissection and analysis, but for the immediate moment, what warrants immediate response is the revelation that the Attorney-General is mulling laws to increase the punishment of those who leak state secrets and journalists who report, and that the Attorney-General’s Chambers is proposing to amend the Official Secrets Act 1972 to include life imprisonment and 10 strokes of the rotan as punishments.

Apandi said: “In some countries, the leaking of official secrets is a serious offence, like in China where it carries the death sentence.”

Apandi insisted that should journalists protect or refuse to reveal the sources by invoking journalistic ethics, they will be considered collaborating with a potential saboteur.

“We may charge journalists who refuse to reveal their sources.

“I am not joking. If I have 90 percent of evidence, I will charge the journalist, editor, assistant editor and editor-in-chief. I am serious, no kidding. We have too many leakage of secrets in Malaysia.

“The right to know is not granted by the constitution.”

This must be the first time the Attorney-General of Malaysia expressed admiration and envy for the laws and system in China, as it had never been done by his predecdessors. Read the rest of this entry »


A virtually impossible feat – Najib’s twin mega scandals entering new year in 36 hours with even more questions than answers

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s twin mega scandals – the RM2.6 billion “donation” and RM55 billion 1MDB – have performed a virtually impossible feat, entering the new year in some 36 hours with even more questions than answers.

This, despite being the subject of multiple investigations inside the country – at one time, even by the highest-powered multi-agency Special Task Force under four “Tan Sris” led by the then Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail himself until Gani was summarily sacked in a government purge on July 28 whose victims included the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and the Special Task Force dissolved – and the target of separate investigations by at least seven foreign countries, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and United States.

How could this happen?

On Monday (Dec. 28), Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi urged the people not to fall for the latest report by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) which cited an unknown source in explaining how US$850 million was transferred from 1MDB to a phantom offshore entity. Read the rest of this entry »


Was Hasan Arifin speaking for PAC or only for himself about being “satisfied” with Arul Kanda’s testimony on 1MDB, and if the former, was a vote taken of the PAC members whether they are “satisfied” with Arul’s evidence?

On the way to the launch of the Perak State Pakatan Harapan in Ipoh from a DAP dinner at Chuichak new village, I read that after its meeting today, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman Datuk Hasan Arifin issued a statement saying that he is satisfied with 1MDB president Arul Kanda Kandasamy’s explanation after a three-hour grilling.

I find Hasan’s statement most shocking as it contradicted the earlier statement by Tony Pua, the PAC member who is most knowledgeable about 1MDB, who had said that Arul Kanda’s answers were “not perfect” and “incomplete” and that the 1MDB president had evaded certain questions.

When Hasan said he was “satisfied” with Arul Kanda’s explanations at the continued PAC investigations into the 1MDB, was this a reflection of his “cari makan” mode of operation or did he take a vote from the PAC after Arul Kanda’s testimony to determine whether the PAC was “satisfied” with the 1MDB CEO’s testimony?

If Hasan had not taken a vote of PAC after Arul Kanda’s testimony, and merely given his own views, he was guilty of misleading Members of Parliament and the Malaysian public who have been following the PAC proceedings with great interest and anticipation.

The Malaysian public does not want the views of a “cari makan” PAC Chairman but the views of the PAC as determined by a vote as to whether PAC is satisfied with Arul Kanda’s testimony. Read the rest of this entry »


Najib must learn quick and fast that there is no way to resolve his grave problem of trust deficit unless he gives full and satisfactory accountability on his twin mega scandals

Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s trust deficit, already lowest for any Prime Minister among all racial groups in the nation’s 58 year history, continued to nose-dive after the UMNO General Assembly, with over a dozen adverse developments and stories keeping Najib’s twin mega scandals alive and kicking in the past three days.

There were six such adverse stories in the last 24 hours in Malaysiakini, viz:

1. PM’s flirtation with gaming world draws scorn

2. Australian court shuts down 1MDB-linked funds

3. Delay in handing over auditor-general’s 1MDB report to PAC

4. To uncover 1MDB truth, cross examine Najib in court – by Nurul Izzah and Tian Chua.

5. The colourful family and friends of 1MDB

6. Malaysian police record Justo’s statement in Bangkok

A day earlier there were two news reports about former MCA President Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik legal entanglements with Najib’s over the latter’s twin mega scandals, about Najib’s claim against Ling and Ling’s counter-claim against Najib, and the former MCA President’s accusation that Najib had not instituted the legal suit against Ling with the genuine intention to seek legal redress, or Najib should have sued all UMNO leaders, past and present, who have criticised him, such as Tun Mahathir as well as Wall Street Journal and Sarawak Report. Read the rest of this entry »

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Parliament must take a stand on Monday whether it wants to have a “cari makan” Chairman of PAC, especially as it is poised to continue its “derailed” investigations into Najib’s RM2.6 billion “donation” and RM50 billion 1MDB twin mega scandals

The Malaysian Parliament must take a stand on Monday whether it wants to have a “cari makan” Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), especially as it is poised to continue its “derailed” investigations into Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s RM2.6 billion “donation” and RM50 billion 1MDB twin mega scandals.

PAC Chairman Datuk Hasan Arifin has compounded his faux pax with a ban on all PAC press conferences on the ground that he is victim of a diabolic plot by the media to present him in the worst possible light.

Why should the media have such an animus towards him and not others, as no other UMNO/BN leader, whether Minister or other parliamentary personality, had ever lodged such a serious complaint of collective bias against the parliamentary media.

Does the fault lie in the media or in Hasan himself? Read the rest of this entry »

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A call to sanity

— Dan Ling
Malay Mail Online
November 17, 2015

NOVEMBER 17 — We live in a world of manufactured outrage. From one incident to the next, media does its best; knowingly and unknowingly, to polarise opinion and encourage consumers to adopt a certain stance. From incident to incident, we see this happening with alarming frequency.

It does so by inciting our more base emotions, poking and prodding them. It does so by being selective about what it decides to highlight, covering certain news with front page headlines, while relegating other news to the back pages with nary a few lines of detail. It sets up the perfect breeding ground for the more easily influenced among us to grow a black-and-white, us versus them mentality. And it is dangerous.

You’d have to have been living under a significantly large rock to not have heard about the recent attacks in Paris that claimed over a hundred and thirty lives. But have you been hearing about all the drone attacks over a large portion of Middle Eastern territory? According to official reports, 41 men were specifically targeted due to their involvement in terror cells, yet 1,147 innocent lives were taken as a result of these “precise” drone strikes that were apparently aided by “reliable intelligence.” Did you hear about the Beirut attack that occurred the day before the Paris attacks? Probably not until afterwards, when people started to draw the stark comparisons between how the two were treated by world media. Read the rest of this entry »

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Police and MCMC raid of Malaysiakini and Star Online must be condemned in strongest possible terms as part of a repressive plan to create culture of fear to stifle freedom of expression and dissent in country

The police and Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) raid of Malaysiakini and Star Online yesterday must be condemned in the strongest possible terms as part of a repressive plan to create a culture of fear to stifle freedom of expression and dissent in the country.

Pakatan Harapan leaders had been on the receiving end of lies and criminal defamation for years but I do not see the police and MCMC taking any action against the UMNO/BN and pro UMNO/BN media or cybertroopers for these flagrant lies and falsehoods.

A classic case is the Utusan Malaysia front-page report that the DAP wanted to create a Christian Malaysia, which was not on a most mischievous, malicious and diabolical lie – but no action had been taken by the authorities against Utusan Malaysia not only in this instance but also many similar such cases by the same guilty parties. Read the rest of this entry »

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Twenty-eight years and eight days ago…

— Lee Yew Meng
Malay Mail Online
November 4, 2015

NOV 4 — On Oct 27, 1987, The Star managing director Datuk Steven Tan told his top management that the newspaper’s publishing permit had been withdrawn with immediate effect. The letter was hand-delivered earlier during a downpour.

The front page on that day read: “DETAINED — 19 picked up in swoop”. The masthead was in black, dramatising the events of the previous day.

I have no recollection of what was discussed during that meeting. Stuck in my head was: “Hey, this is ridiculous. Our chairman is Tunku Abdul Rahman (our first prime minister) and we are owned by MCA, a senior coalition partner in the government.”

All employees were on a quarter-month’s pay henceforth. It was a double whammy for couples on The Star’s payroll. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib is sounding the death knell for Global Movement of Moderates if he is not prepared to uphold moderation as represented by Bersih 4 and marginalize extremism as represented by Sept. 16 Red Shirts Rally

The cat is out of the bag – the mission of irresponsible, dishonest and insidious propagandists in the UMNO/BN camp out to twist facts, distort the truth and even tell outright lies and falsehoods to influence public perceptions and events.

This comes from the admission by the UMNO Secretary-General Tengku Adnan yesterday blaming the UMNO-owned Utusan Malaysia for exacerbating the diplomatic flap involving the Chinese ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang who, to quote Adnan, went to Petaling Street with good intentions but Utusan Malaysia took Ronnie Liu and Teresa Kok’s blog and “twisted” them into the headlines, and it became a problem!

There would be no kid-glove treatment of Utusan Malaysia if it is not a UMNO-owned publication or the authorities would have descended on it like a ton of bricks, even suspending or cancelling its publication licence for activities prejudicial to racial harmony and national interests.

This highlights the UMNO/BN administration’s hypocrisy and double-standards especially as this is not the first time that Utusan had been guilty of journalistic excesses, abuses and anti-national activities prejudicial to social peace, racial harmony and national unity. Read the rest of this entry »

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