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The vicious attacks on bloggers using offensive language demeans the government and coupled with failure to rebut questions raised in the blogs only sustains suspicions that government leaders have something to hide


Press Statement  

by Lim Guan Eng



(Petaling Jaya, Monday): The vicious attacks on bloggeRs using offensive language demeans the government and coupled with failure to rebut questions raised in the blogs, only helps to sustain suspicions that government leaders have something to hide. Seeing the string of threats and personal attacks, one is reminded of Shakespeare’s famous words in the play Hamlet,  "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." 

UMNO and BN leaders are "protesting too much" and insisting so strongly about something not being true that people begin to suspect maybe it is true. After UMNO Information chief Tan Sri Mohamad bin Mohamad Taib lodged a police report against Malaysai Today webmaster Raja Petra Kamarudin for insulting the King and Islam under the Sedition Act, a bunch of ravenous UMNO leaders descended on bloggers vowing veangeance. First off the blocks, was UMNO Vice- President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who said the same laws of sedition, Internal Security Act and a host of other oppressive laws will be used against bloggers. 

This was followed by Information Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin who accused political bloggers as tools of foreign elements bent on destroying our beloved country, including damaging the economy and disrupting national unity. Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin said in Sabah that there are no laws in the cyberworld except for the law of the jungle and action must be taken so that the "monkeys" behave. Using such language as traitors and monkeys without any just cause is inappropriate of their status as leaders. 

Finally the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi appeared to echo what his son-in-law said by stating that bloggers are subject to the country’s laws for everything that is posted in their blogs as long as the bloggers are Malaysians even though their servers are located overseas. This is ridiculous logic because any just legal system requires the person responsible to be punished for his actions or misdeeds.  

If a father is not legally responsible if his son commits a crime, why should a blogger be responsible if someone else makes a false posting in his blog. Especially as alleged by Raja Petra in his blog, such false postings are made by unscrupulous UMNO agents masquerading as genuine bloggers. Any just legal system would not hold the blogger Raja Petra responsible but the one who posted it as responsible. 

Keng Yaik wants bloggers jailed, what about govrnment departments?

Two days ago, Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Dr Lim Keng Yaik who instructed the Malaysia Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to investigate a blogger and take action to send the blogger to jail. This is a most shocking extension of a role of the MCMC from expanding the frontiers of multimedia industry to a “Big Brother” to monitor and send people to jail.  

How can the Multimedia Super Corridor(MSC) succeed in attracting foreign entrepreneurs if these investors can be jailed if someone put a posting in their websites? Keng Yaik may want to curry favour with the government so that he can be appointed to a cushy government post when he retires as Minister after the next general elections, but he has tarnished his image and record by helping to create a climate of fear to intimidate bloggers and impose a police state in blogosphere. 

Clearly UMNO leaders are protesting too much as in Hamlet. If they have proof, sue those who have assumed responsibility but not use the entire government machinery to clamp down on blogs. If bloggers are to be fully responsible for all postings, then would the government apply the same rules of law on their own websites that contained seditious materials?  

The government would practice double-standards and fail to uphold the rule of law if government websites escape unpunished for such materials just because they serve government interests whilst those opposing the government are punished for exercising freedom of expression. Would Keng Yaik ask MCMC to send government departments to jail?



* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP

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