Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang
in Parliament on Friday, 25th January 2008:
Call on Prime Minister to clarify whether government scholars are
monitored and penalized for blogging on critical socio-political issues
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should clarify
whether government scholars are monitored and penalized for blogging on
critical socio-political issues.
The government is doing the very opposite of what it has preached that
it wants to create a new generation of Malaysians who are critical,
creative and constructive, as it fettering the minds of the young when
monitoring and penalizing government scholars who blog on critical
This is another example that the Abdullah administration is not prepared
to bring about the radical changes in government mindsets and mentality
to move Malaysia from a “First-World Infrastructure, Third-World
Mentality” to a “First-World, First-World Mentality”.
Government monitoring and penalize scholar-bloggers came to light in a
letter sent to my blog by a frustrated Public Service Department
scholarship holder, viz:
“I am writing as a Malaysia JPA (Public Service Department) Scholarship
holder (awarded in year 2006).
“I am 20 this year and I am currently pursuing my pre University studies
in a local institution and according to my study plans, I am supposed to
depart to an overseas country in September 2008. But, the problem is, I
am also an Active Blogger on
blogspot.com, touching mainly on socio-political
“To be frank, I have been very much careful in my writings by not
touching religions and names and by remaining neutral politically. Yet,
my fear is imminent.
“My dilemma stems from a recent incident happened to one of my fellow
scholar (of batch 2007) from my institution.
“She is a blogger herself, and apparently she went 'over-the-line' by
attacking senior lecturers and institution administration on her blog.
“Consequently, her blog attracted attention from both students and
administrators and the news went to as far as our sponsor, the JPA.
“She faced the institution's internal disciplinary hearing and was
subsequently suspended by the institution late last year and currently,
she is pending decisions from the JPA on whether she will continue her
scholarship or face termination.
“I certainly do not agree on her writing style, but still I am appalled.
“This incident sparks a 'spree' of warnings given by intuition
administrators to us, the students.
“Allegedly, some of my fellow bloggers-students (including some who are
already being sent overseas) are being 'monitored' by JPA officers and
“Others, with tendency to blog explicitly on 'controversial issues' such
as atheism and socio-politic issues, are forced to shut down their
websites or delete some of their posts due to the personal fear of
losing scholarships. I am one of them.
“The situation is even more frustrating as there are no official
statements issued to scholars by the JPA regarding blogging.
“Meantime, our lecturers and administrators provide no help by spreading
cloud of rumours and warnings to scholars in local intuitions.
“It is pathetic and sad.
“We are being drafted to be the creme-De-la-creme, the so-called future
leaders of the country, and yet we are forcefully being silenced by our
“We are angry to see each day in papers, that the scholarship that we
are holding, are being abused by politicians to gain recognition and
“Most of my fellow non-Malay scholars (supposedly all) gained our
scholarships purely on meritorious basis and not by any political
favours from any party.
“But it’s a shame that certain politicians treat us as political chess
pawns as if we are in debt to them.
“Personally, I was invited by SOME party youth to participate some
recent '9points event' as a 'government scholar' to share my
“Of course, I told him off.
“Forgive my arrogance but we, the 'bloggers-cum-scholars', are among the
few enlightened youngsters of our country who happen to care about what
is happening to our beloved nation, politically, socially and
“And I strongly feel bound to voice out an opinion, a cry-out for
awareness among youngsters, and a demand, for a little, if any, changes.
“Shamefully, I am heavily guarded by higher institution acts and
constantly being threatened to keep quiet on political issues in campus
or online by pointing a knife on our scholarships.
“For your information, most of us, the scholars, come from middle and
lower class families, and we can never afford to lose our scholarships.
Most of us thus, choose to comply or remain silent. It a pure tragic.
“I feel angry at myself for being a coward. Yet, I am studying in an
environment full of hypocrisy and authoritative fear.”
Kit Siang, Parliamentary
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman