Syed Hamid tells why Malaysia Today was blocked

UPDATE from Malaysiakini

Dr M slams gov’t for banning blog site


 Mahathir Mohamad today condemned the government for reneging on its long-held promise of not censoring the Internet – a policy in which he was the architect.

mahathir hulu langat 120408 press conference“When a government makes a promise to the country and then reneges on its promise, then not only will the government lose credibility but also any respect that the public may have for it.”

The former premier, who implemented the no-Internet censorship policy in the mid-1990s, said the government’s action shows “a degree of oppressive arrogance worthy of a totalitarian state”.


“I do not often agree with and (website editor) Raja Petra Kamaruddin. He had been sometimes quite irresponsible,” said Mahathir in hisChedet blog.

“But court action had already been taken against him. He is not above the law and if he is found guilty there are already adequate punishment that can be passed against (him).”Meanwhile, opposition party PKR has also slammed the government’s decision, saying that it was a desperate act by a shell-shocked Barisan Nasional government.

Calling it the latest onslaught on civil liberties, the opposition party added that the decision is tantamount to internet censorship. 

“It is also a desperate act by the BN government that is still reeling from its repeated defeats and refusing to listen to the clear signals demonstrated by the rakyat time and again via the ballot box.

PKR secretary-general Salahuddin Hashim in a statement today.

Beginning of the slippery slope?

However, Salahuddin pointed out that “pre-emptive strikes such as these are weak and pathetic attempts to hide a desperation borne of absolute moral bankruptcy”. 

He said PKR also views seriously the possibility that this is merely the first step in a comprehensive and reprehensible attempt to curb the access of Malaysians to the Internet, which in the past few years has been the bastion of freedom for those seeking alternative views.
“PKR calls upon the MCMC and the government to keep its promise to the MSC (Multimedia Super Corridor) and to immediately revoke this order, and resist any temptation to arrogantly show callous disregard for the right of Malaysians to access alternative information,” he said. 

Under the MSC’s 10 Point Bill of Guarantees, the government promises to ensure no internet censorship.


Note: I have done my own censor for my safety.

‘This is yet another step the Malaysian government has taken towards being a —- state. We Malaysians are utterly disgusted and appalled by this hypocrisy’.

RPK’s blog is ranked number one in Malaysia and is actually visited by all races.

Raja Petra himself is very much a ‘Malaysian Malaysian’. It is unbelievable that pornographic sites, fanatical and chauvinistic religious sites, con-job sites, etc. are all free from Malaysia’s government censure, but RPK’s blog is banned.Is it because of some startling and ‘explosive’ revelations about those walking the ‘corridors of power’? The MCMC is a joke of an institution.
This action will only provoke more revolt among the Malaysian public, and we shall demand that all persons responsible be brought to justice when the new government is in place, regardless of their claims that they were ‘instructed by those in power’.

Enough of these gutless civil servants.

Lim Leong:
 A democratic and a progressive society does not come about by having a ‘Big Brother’ government telling people what to read and what is right and what it wrong.

In fact, it is the absolute control of the media and information channels which has allowed corruptions and injustices to flourish unchecked in Malaysia for so long.


The Malaysias people are not illiterate and we can come to a conclusion on whether a piece of information has any truth or otherwise.

If the information is ‘libelous, defamatory and slanderous to the other people’, there are more than enough avenues under the Malaysia legal framework to settle the wrongs in court.

My advice to Syed Hamid is to stop spinning the censorship story. If you have got nothing to hide, truth will prevail eventually as the people will reason it out for themselves.

On the contrary, no amount of censorship will conceal wrongdoings in the 21st century.

KUALA LUMPUR: The controversial Malaysia Today news portal was blocked by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (SKMM) because its editor ignored many warning letters, Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said.

“When they publish things that are libellous, slanderous or defamatory, it is natural for the SKMM to act against these websites whenever necessary,” he told a a press conference at Parliament lobby yesterday.

Peter Ooi: I understand that Syed Hamid Albar is a lawyer by training. But the way he argued for the banning of Malaysia Today does not really reflect his understanding of the law.

I do agree that Malaysia Today did publish articles bordering on slander. If any one is offended by the slanderous article, he is free to take legal action against the writer.

There is no need for the government to act on behalf the offended individuals. At present, Raja Petra is having two of such cases hanging over his head.

In a civil and free society it should be the offended parties that seek legal redress and not the government on his behalf.

The irony here is that our leaders who felt slandered would not act or I should say, fear to act against such slanderous remarks.

Now that Syed Hamid decided to ban the site for these reasons, it further confirm the public perception that the authority is attempting to cover up all its wronddoings which no mainstream media would dare expose.


Syed Hamid said SKMM was only exercising its powers.

“We do not intend to curtail people’s freedom or right to express themselves. Everyone is subjected to the law, even websites and blogs,” he added.

On Wednesday, Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamaruddin lashed out against the blocking of the online portal, saying it was a breach of the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) charter.

Under the MSC Malaysia 10-Point Bill of Guarantees, the Government promised to “ensure no Internet censorship”.

It was reported that all 21 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the country had been ordered by SKMM to block the controversial website.

The notices were sent out on Tuesday in accordance with Section 263 of the Communications and Multimedia Act.

Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum, the Deputy Minister of Energy, Water and Communications, said he was not aware that SKMM had ordered ISPs to block the website.

“I do not read Malaysia Today. Media practitioners must be sensitive to culture and religion,” he said.

Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek declined comment as it was not under his jurisdiction.

SKMM chief operating officer Mohamed Sharil Mohamed Tarmizi, who is overseas, declined to elaborate, saying a press conference would be held to explain why such action was taken.

It is understood that this is not the first time SKMM has ordered a website to be blocked.

Malaysia Today remains accessible through its mirror website.

source:The Star Online News

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