With the government tight control over the media, the majority of the voters were denied the right and opportunity to make intelligent and informed choices on competing policy alternatives, political parties and candidates. There have been elections where the DAP has suffered heavy electoral defeats merely due to the politics of falsehoods, lies and threats which the government was able to succeed in doing so due to its blatant abuse of the media
- launching of DAP web radio
by Kerk Kim Hock
(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): First of all, I would like to welcome all of you, DAP leaders, members and supporters throughout Malaysia, fellow Malaysians in the country and abroad, and everyone who currently logs on to this web radio from any part of the world.
DAP was the first political party in Malaysia to launch a political party’s website on 18th March 1996. In other words, we were the first Malaysian political party in the cyberspace at the time when Internet was still at its infant stage in Malaysia. We have gone through 7 years since then or 35 Internet years, as 1 calendar year is equivalent to 5 years in Internet.
There has been much development in the Internet in Malaysia in the last 7 years. Political and non-political websites have mushroomed and now almost all major political parties in Malaysia have their own websites. It is estimated that at least 2 million Malaysians are now internet-literate.
The last few years have also witnessed the increasing trend of politically conscious Malaysians accessing and obtaining political news through websites, especially on issues which the mainstream news reports are believed to provide biased, or untrue or little coverage or simply no coverage. More people are also using the Internet to put forward their views on subjects they care about and to react to politicians’ speeches, political development and government policies.
Internet, which has become an important campaign tool in many parts of the world, has therefore become an important tool for Malaysian political parties to send their political messages. Indeed, Internet use as a campaign tool is especially necessary, critical and important in countries such as Malaysia where the democratic space has become smaller for the dissenting voices and opposition parties.
The DAP has fought the Alliance and now Barisan Nasional for the last 37 years and it was always an uphill task to fight the Barisan Nasional’s political might of 3M – Money, Media and Machinery. In all the last 8 general elections that the DAP contested, the BN has never failed to use the 3M politics unashamedly.
With the government tight control over the media, the majority of the voters were denied the right and opportunity to make intelligent and informed choices on competing policy alternatives, political parties and candidates. There have been elections where the DAP has suffered heavy electoral defeats merely due to the politics of falsehoods, lies and threats which the government was able to succeed in doing so due to its blatant abuse of the media.
Internet is like “the light at the end of the tunnel” for opposition parties as far as information dissemination and communication is concerned. At the very least, the Barisan Nasional government is unable to neither censor the contents of the Internet nor control the growth of Internet users.
Our Party’s official website, www.dapmalaysia.org has become an important party organ in recent years. The website has enabled our party policies, leaders’ statements and important messages to be posted and be accessed by anyone in the world, at anytime and from anywhere. It has also enabled the members of the public to know more about us, our leaders and our elected representatives and to communicate with us directly through emails. .
We are aware that the technologies are changing rapidly and the demand for easy accessibility, speedier connections and richer contents and features in a website from the users is also increasing.
Though it has taken us quite sometime to do what we should have done, considering the fact we were the first political party to launch a website 7 years ago, we are now adding this important and interesting feature – the audio component. With this, whoever who logs in to our website will not only be able to read our statements but also are able to listen to our speeches and news broadcast over the Internet. This is our latest feature – the DAP web radio.
In the coming general election, we want to involve more Malaysians in the fight for democracy, freedom, justice and good governance. What you can do is to listen to our web radio, read our website everyday and bring the issues to the people.
There are many pressing issues that the Malaysian voters must know and understand before the next general election, whether it is the Islamic state issue, the vision school project, the ISA issue and a lists of other issues concerning justice, freedom, democracy and good governance in Malaysia.
Every Malaysian has an important role to play in the battle a just Malaysia . Internet users who have access to full, accurate and quick information have all the reason to be involved in this battle.
You can play your role by helping to let the people know what are the real issues affecting them .Let them know what are the truth. Warn them of the possible lies and falsehoods to be created by the Barisan Nasional strategists. Spread the truth and ensure that the voters can make their informed and intelligent choices come Election Day.
The next general election will be a crucial battle for Malaysia and our future generations. Malaysian voters must, through their votes, send the loudest and clearest political message to the Barisan Nasional government--- that Malaysia must remain a secular democratic nation.
This great battle cannot be fought by the DAP alone. The people must be involved. My appeal to you, therefore, is to get involved! Help to engage , empower and enlighten the Malaysian voters.!
* Kerk Kim Hock, DAP Secretary General & MP for Kota Melaka