DAP calls for a national and world-wide
boycott of PC Suria computers unless PC Suria apologises and withdraws its
arbitrary and high-handed eviction order to malaysiakini which offends the
spirit and culture of an information age
Media Conference Statement 2
by Lim Kit Siang
DAP calls for a national and world-wide boycott of PC Suria computers unless
PC Suria apologises and withdraws its arbitrary and high-handed eviction
order to its tenant, Malaysiakini, on a completely spurious ground which
offends the spirit and culture of an information age.
Malaysiakini has been served with an order dated Jan. 22 to vacate its
rented premises in Bangsar Utama by the end of February by landlord PC Suria
because the online website "had been found involved in activities which
contravene the laws of the country".
This arbitrary eviction notice is most offensive and even obnoxious on many
Firstly, for being part of larger
political agenda to shut down the Malaysian Internet news site, clamp down
on nascent Malaysian freedom of speech and expression online and violate the
MSC Bill of Guarantee of no Internet censorship;
Secondly, deliberate distortion of
and contempt for the rule of law, as no court of law had adjudged
Malaysiakini guilty of being "involved in activities which contravene the
laws of the country".
Thirdly, most serious of all, for
being totally alien to the spirit and culture of the information age.
PC Suria is a sole distributor of
what has been marketed as the national computer produced by Perbadanan
Komputer Nasional Bhd (Nascom)., a government-backed enterprise formerly
known as PC Malaysia Bhd., formed in 1997 to produce a "smart" national
Nascom, which manufactures about 60,000 units of PC a year, claims to have a
foothold in Malaysia's personal computer market. According to a recent media
report, Nascom exports 90 per cent of its computers, and expects to register
more than RM1 billion in sales this year. Recently, the company teamed up
with Italian-based C.M.S. SpA, which owns Olivetti, to produce computers for
the European and part of the African markets.
If Malaysia has produced its first
national computer, PC Suria, and there is even a market arrangement to
market the computer from 18,000 Olivetti outlets throughout Europe, this
should be a feather in the national IT cap and a matter of national pride.
This is not the case however if the PC Suria is in the very thick of the
plot to kill off nascent Malaysian freedom of speech and expression online
and violate the MSC Bill of Guarantee of no Internet censorship by aiding
and abetting UMNO Youth to shut down Malaysiakini.
Then it is a subject of national infamy and should become an object of
national obloquy as it confronts all Malaysians with undoubtedly the biggest
question in the era of information and communications technologies - what is
the purpose of the information age, to use ICT to empower the people or to
hold them in greater subjection and tyranny?
It is most unbelievable that UMNO Youth could add insult to injury by
calling on the police to charge the Malaysiakini editor-in-chief, Steven Gan,
under the Sedition Act "to teach them a lesson".
The people who should be "taught a lesson" is UMNO Youth, which in the past
15 years had been responsible for three most disgraceful, shameful and
downright gangsterish episodes not befitting a responsible, nationalistic
and patriotic political body.
UMNO Youth stands out in Malaysia as the political youth wing in Malaysia
with the worst record whether on press freedom or human rights. In fact, it
even failed to defend the human right to live of Malaysians, in particular
urban Malays who are the most vulnerable population group in the raging
worst dengue epidemic in the nation's history with the death toll in three
Whatever record of UMNO Youth on press freedom is a history to suppress and
stifle the freedom of speech, expression, opinion, information and a free
press and not to help widen the frontiers of freedom for a responsible and
independent press or expand space for free speech and expression.
UMNO Youth's latest addition to its catalogue of human rights violations in
trampling on freedom of speech, expression, opinion and a free press, is its
police report against malaysiakini resulting in the high-handed police raid
on the Malaysian internet news site and the removal of its 19 computers to
try to effectively shut down its operation.
All youth wings, including the other Barisan Nasional youth wings, should
teach UMNO Youth "a lesson" in democracy and human rights by publicly
dissociating themselves from the UMNO Youth's latest trampling of freedom of
speech, expression, opinion, information and a free press.
I challenge UMNO Youth to state what it had done to stand up for free speech
and a free press, for its record is a total blank as it had done absolutely
nothing for freedom of speech, expression, opinion, information and a free
Lim Kit Siang, DAP National