Tuesday, July 24, 2007

[Malaysiakini] Dr Mahathir: Gov't wants to curb cyber dissent

The following article is taken from Malaysiakini.

By Andrew Ong

Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad believes that there is an attempt by the government to curb voices of dissent on the Internet.

“Yes there is an attempt. But you cannot stop people from using the Internet,” he told reporters after officiating the International Conference on Gold Dinar Economy at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur today.

Mahathir said in the past, his administration would have liked to ban Internet pornography but it was “impossible” because, among others, the content was based overseas.

“Same with bloggers. You can’t stop them,” he stressed.

Mahathir’s comments come in the wake of growing concern among the blogging community that the government had begun a clamp down on online dissidents.

On July 14, PKR staff and blogger Nathaniel Tan was remanded for four days under the Official Secrets Act 1972 and investigated by the Cyber Crimes Unit pertaining to contents on his blog.

Subsequently, Deputy Internal Security Minister Mohd Johari Baharum announced that he had ordered the police to nab those who spread "lies" on the Internet.

Yesterday, Umno information chief Muhammad Muhammad Taib lodged a police report against the Malaysia Today website for allegedly publishing remarks that insulted the King and Islam.

'Stick to facts'

Meanwhile, Mahathir advised bloggers not to “dabble in fiction and stick to the facts.”

Asked if Malaysia Today webmaster Raja Petra Raja Kamaruddin had ‘stuck to the facts’, the former premier replied: “If he did not, people would not read it.”

In another development, Mahathir said he did not accept the nominations to contest for a delegate’s seat in the Umno general assembly because he was “certain” that some parties would ensure that he was defeated.

“Why did I decline? Because I know I will lose. They will pay money to the delegates not to vote for me. The last time, they spent more than RM80,000... paying RM200 (per person)... when these people reported, the disciplinary committee said ‘there was no bribery’.

“In my constituency (Kubang Pasu in Kedah), everybody knows that there was bribery. There is bribery promoted by the ruling party. This is something that has never happened before,” he added.

“They sell their votes for RM200 for (a) party election. For (the) general election, it’s RM1,000. At the Ijok (by-election) recently, people were paid RM1,000, sewing machines were given, all kinds of things happened,” he said.

Three branches in Kubang Pasu, Mahathir’s former Parliamentary constituency for about three decades, had nominated him for the post.

Last year, Mahathir came in ninth out of 15 vying for the post.

He had claimed then that there was an attempt to stop him from addressing the Umno delegates at the general assembly because he was at odds with Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.


Sagaladoola said...

Malaysia Today, What is 50th Merdeka?


cre8tif said...

well said Tun.