malaysiakini informs us that Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang asked despairingly whether the Malaysian Parliament has become the world’s No 1 anti-bloggers Parliament.
He posed the question after UMNO’s top head kicker, Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department warned that the full force of the law (presumably UMNO’s law) would fall upon the blogger daring enough to belittle Islam and the King.
It’s the usual UMNO’s favourite mantra of agama, bangsa dan negara (though in RPK's case, it's minus the bangsa). The mantra is a convenient tool for UMNO leaders to use to intimidate and silence others, especially those who might have the dirt on them, and teflon-ise its own members (eg. the KJ refusal to apologise for his seditious accusation of Chinese Malaysians intending to ‘split’ the Malay community, which in turn was used to mask 9.2 million other reasons).
Lim said – hey, hang on a tic’ bib, didn’t DPM Najib just said something totally different from UMNO’s top hatchet man?
malaysiakini reported that “on Monday, Najib said the government has not made a ‘special decision’ to clamp down on bloggers. Yesterday, Nazri, who is also de facto law minister, told the Dewan Negara that the time has come for action.”
I searched my BolehTalk archives and came up with Anwar Exposed - nah, don’t be hopeful, this isn’t the de facto Anwar.
This incident happened almost 3 years ago when a mysterious ‘Anwar’ caused such a stir on Screenshots with his very crude comparison of UMNO and Islam Hadhari? Then he held the email address of firstname.lastname@example.org. The Cantonese words ‘tongsan chai’ means ‘China boy’ or ‘Chinaman’ depending on how one wants to term it, but 'Anwar' was as tongsanchai as I am Punjabi.
As we are all aware the kerfuffle started with the Berita Harian accusing Screenshots of condoning such a seditious posting.
When UMNO and government ministers began to threaten Jeff Ooi of Screenshots with the ISA, Lim Kit Siang of the DAP waded into the fray, accusing the prime minister’s 2Ks – KJ and Kalimullah Hassan (New Straits Times editor-in-chief, whom Berita Harian reports to) – of hounding the wrong person. He accused them of attempting to settle personal scores through the exploitation of an issue not authored by Jeff Ooi.
Though initially the police went after Jeff Ooi, the target was changed to poor little ‘Anwar’, with Energy, Water and Communications Minister (at that time) Dr Lim Keng Yaik revealing that police has identified him as a 30-year old Muslim man, who worked as a laboratory technician in Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.
My BolehTalk partner, Mr X, found out that poor 'Anwar' was actually a far older bloke (then around 54) nearing retirement.
I asked of the dear Minister: “Datuk, we’re all surprised that you and the Police would employ resources to the extent of identifying an obscene poster on Jeff Ooi’s Blog. Has he been a threat to national security or a notorious criminal?
If you remember, the public’s general preference and advice have been to ignore this vulgar idiot, rather than pursue him over a trifle.
In fact, Anwar regretted his impetuous actions and apologised for that on Malaysia-Today.
What now, Minister? Do we see him incarcerated for a moment of regretted foolishness – for daring to insult UMNO and UMNO’s Islamic values? Surely a free nation such as Malaysia needn’t behave like Communist China, North Korea or Iran!”
Sadly, Lim (the Minister not the DAP Grand Olde Man), pressed for ‘Anwar’ to be charged. What a nasty mean minister, and a non-UMNO one at that too.
Mr X and I then wrote an open letter published in malaysiakini, appealing to the government to go easy on ‘Anwar’. Mr X took the trouble of comforting and supporting poor ‘Anwar’ who must have been terrified that the Communication Ministry in combination with the dreaded Police had traced and hunted him down. Mr X is like that, a rough diamond with his words but with a custard pie heart, soft and sweet.
In 'Anwar' Exposed (2)! I blogged:
But on 4 October the Sun newspaper reported that DPM Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak dismissed the Screenshot hoo-haa as sheer nonsense. Datuk Seri Najib said the government wasn’t going to waste time countering every malicious allegation on the Internet (correctly so, if I may add).
Then yesterday we have Energy, Water & Communications Minister Lim Keng Yaik stating that the investigation of ‘Anwar’ has been completed, and will be submitted to the AG by end of this month. malaysiakini headlines the article that Anwar may be prosecuted for incitement.
By pursuing the matter, basically the outcome of a vendetta between a mainsteam newspaper and a blog, to its unpleasant conclusion, has Lim KY deliberately disregarded DPM Datuk Najib’s decision on the matter? Has there been a disagreement between cabinet members, with ‘Anwar’ unfortunately caught in an UMNO maelstorm?
I dug all this up to show that DPM Najib, like Dr Mahathir, seems, at least on the surface, to be consistent in his attitude in not giving too much attention to bloggers nor unduly worried about them.
But his ministers behaved otherwise. In the earlier case, it seemed to be Lim Keng Yaik who was far too enthusiastic in wanting to charge a middle-aged blogger while now UMNO’s top head kicker has declared war against bloggers. And very déja vu-ish too!
Hey, who is in charge in the government?