Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I was in a blogger-friendly Republic...

I was away for 5 days. I missed out the Merdeka celebration and I had my early fasting days abroad, in a blogger-friendly nation about 5-hrs flight from Kuala Lumpur. However, few hundred Malaysians in the capital city brought me some cheers on the eve of Aug 31.

Owing my gratitude to an ambassador, I was there to attend a reunion. I was one of the 30 Asian journalists on a fellowship study in the mid 90s.

Meeting old friends (some already retired) made me wonder how short life can be. In a country like Malaysia, where life expectancy for males is around 72, we dont many more years to go.

I met few dignitaries of whom 2 are ministers and 5 formers. A topic over a dinner session really drew my fullest attention - bloggers!

"We know many bloggers in the country. Some are pro-government while the rest are not. They are free to write anything, from criticising the President to calling members of the Cabinet names and other things.

"No action has been taken because we know they have reasons to do so. However, 2 bloggers were arrested earlier this month for trying to spread communism in their blogs," according to an ex-minister of information.

"There are also pro and anti-government publications. If we need to take action, then we'll have to put to jail some 200,000 anti-government bloggers! The government dont heed to unscrupulous writings... the people know their leaders and government better.

"If we need them to clarify something, they Home Ministry, the Information Ministry or special representatives of the President will call respective bloggers to office."

The President, too, got a blog which carries comments, answers and counter-statements to what were posted by bloggers.

"Its good, you know. We have a special task force that enlists top 30 pro and 30 anti-government bloggers. We call them for a monthly chat. We share ideas over tea or coffee.

"Some inputs on the blogs are very good and constructive. This people are journalists, ex-government officials and other professionals who, at times, would like to be heard, too. And so, the pen down their opinions and suggestions for the government to consider.

"Some are really hardcores but we chose those whom we consider can give and take in our monthly discussion. This is democratic... very, very democratic. But of course this is a one race-nation, unlike Malaysia," he added.

Even the minister said there was no way for the government to monitor, control and block all bad blogs.

"No way! The moment you block one, another 1,000 will come up. So, live with it. As long as they dont try to run down the government in an undemocratic manner, dont incite hatred among the citizens and dont put our diplomatic relations with other countries at stake, then its ok."

11 comments:

anonymous said...

nowadays, you won't miss Merdeka Day since it has been replaced by National Day and/or Malaysia day. That is if you are in Penang.

Anonymous said...

Jai,

Good to know you are back, frankly I do miss RPK's kicking ass blog. Nevertheless as a blogger once must know your limit, isn't it?

MCMC has use their right to request the ISP licensee to block Malaysia Today.

RPK has other avenue, he can open a new blog. What the problem? Thers are so many loophole in our law which govern ICT.

Jai, jangan marah-marah you are now 48 coming to 49, relaxlah.

Anonymous said...

Hi

I quote...

As long as they dont try to run down the government in an undemocratic manner, dont incite hatred among the citizens and dont put our diplomatic relations with other countries at stake, then its ok......

What about Malaysian bloggers??

I notice that some are really "bordering" on this quote.

Shouldn't somebody line "SOPO" have some clear guideline on this, not withstanding "free speach", blaa, blaa, blaa..

Hey I value what you (bloggers) have to say (hey, hey... I do read but may not agree)but posting hear-say from some unknown source, etc, etc... not withstanding "SD's

Come on..the audience may not know the country and basically this is "running down the country" so where is the patriotism that every blogger profess...

aMir

nasionalis said...

Abdullah can't even be questioned by press, without getting annoyed, Kamal Khalid getting restless and Zaki Zahid soundinh threats.

What more chat with bloggers? Monthly some more?

Ahmad A Talib said...

Sdra Jai,

Wah, doing some travelling ah! good for u man! Anyway, the country u visited must have a be very confident govt. Not many people here can take criticisms and look at them as good feedback. Many of our leaders just want to hear what they believe in , or what has been filtered by their officers.

Selamat berbuka (but you must puasa first ok?!)...jgn marah beb!

bujai said...

bro AAT,

the country do have problems, sometimes faced with street demos. however, they dont pay serious attention to accusations and allegations on the blogs. few millions of them. what the govt did was to recognise some good ones (including good critics), call em up every month, discuss points raised and take action. i was envious of such methods. the president, too, is a blogger, writing and answering most issues without prejudice

bujai said...

anon,

limits are what we should observe. either you are blogger, a minister, a prime minister or a layman, watch your tounge before you lose it...

tetmentonet said...

bro,
kau pegi mana? manila? taiwan? korea? yang aku tau la, kau suka ke manila dan korea.

apa pun, kerajaan tu patut dipuji. presidennya pun kira ok la jugak, ada blog sendiri dan suka jawab isu dalam bloh lain.

PM kita ada blog sendiri ke?

adik, UITM shah alam said...

good that u are back.... rindu la kat abg bujai.

ingatkan pegi umrah!

bujai said...

sdr nasionalis,

we can confront paklah with lots of questions but we wont get satisfactory answers. dr m was still d best... hmmm

sorry aaarrr!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

This is a message for the webmaster/admin here at justread-whatever.blogspot.com.

May I use part of the information from this post above if I give a link back to your website?

Thanks,
Peter