Malaysia should not follow the Singaporean Model to regulate online portals

Malaysia should not follow the Singaporean model to regulate online portals because this violates the Malaysia MSC Bill of Guarantees that there will be no internet censorship. DAP regrets that newly-minted Communications and Multimedia Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek is starting off his tenure by breaking BN’s earliest promise of not censoring the internet in wanting to regulate online portals. Where is BN’s “Janji ditepati”?

Ahmad Shabery should be granting freedom to the media and the press instead of trying to further choke off any limited space of press freedom found in the internet. Why should Malaysia follow Singapore in regulating online portals when Singapore performed worse than Malaysia in press freedom?

According to Reporters Without Borders, Malaysia fell 23 places from 2012 to 145th this year in the 2013 Press Freedom Index because “access to information is becoming more and more limited”. Reporters Without Borders said that Malaysia’s “sorry record” was caused by the government’s repeated efforts to censor information.

“Despite an all-out battle by rights activists and online media outlets, a campaign of repression by the government, illustrated by the crackdown on the ‘Bersih 3.0’ protest in April, and repeated censorship efforts, continue to undermine basic freedoms, in particular the right to information,”

Only Singapore performed worse than Malaysia at 149th place. Is Malaysia going to compare itself with the better or the worse-off ones?

As Ahmad Shabery now considers online portals to be mainstream media, he wants to control them like BN controls the mainstream media. This appears to be BN’s main agenda after the online news portal were blamed for causing the BN to lose the popular vote for the first time in history in the 2013 general elections.

BN is blaming everyone except their own selves for this historic defeat, from the Chinese community to the online news portal, when PR won 51% of the popular vote compared to BN’s 47% or 385,899 more votes than BN. Such proposed regulation is not progress but regression.

Ahmad Shabery was not impressive in his previous stints as Information Minister and then Youth and Sports Minister, as he has no outstanding achievements to show off. However his suggestion to regulate the internet shows that he is worse than his predecessor Tan Sri Rais Yatim in failing to take a national or international perspective, and pandering to the UMNO constituency in preparation for the UMNO party elections later this year.

How Can Screening The Racist Hate Film On May 13 Riots “Tanda Putera” Be Compatible With Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s Call For National Reconciliation And The Country to Move Forward With Less Politicking?

Another proof that Ahmad Shabery is worse than Tan Sri Rais Yatim is his decision to release the racist hate film ‘Tanda Putera’ on August 29 in cinemas nationwide. This racist hate film on May 13, 1969 riots panders to extremism and again blame non-Malays for igniting the May 13 riots.

It also contained malicious lies against DAP leaders, especially DAP leader Lim Kit Siang, who was never in Kuala Lumpur throughout the entire period but was in Sabah. For these reasons, Rais refused to allow cinemas to screen this film nation-wide.

For Ahmad Shabery to permit the screening of this hate film ‘Tanda Putera’ because he said that it has a “national theme”, is not only divisive and discriminatory but also promotes lies, hatred and fear. How can screening the racist hate film on May 13 riots “Tanda Putera” be compatible with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s call for national reconciliation and the country to move forward with less politicking?

Ahmad Shabery is gravely mistaken to think that UMNO can win back lost Malay or non-Malay votes by taking a hard-line racist and extremist stand that creates fear and hatred to frighten both Malay and non-Malay voters to return to BN. Such tactics backfired badly in the recent general elections, when more than 42% of Malay voters especially young voters abandoned BN by voting for PR.

DAP Secretary General & MP for Bagan
Media statement by Lim Guan Eng in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, 4th June 2013