Blog ban a sign of a more deperate Malaysian government?

They say if all you have is a hammer then all your problems start to look like nails.

So it is with the Malaysian government. With Anwar Ibrahim now beating at the gates the Badawi government has gotten more desperate.

First some low ranking lackey called Saiful was asked to try to frame Anwar by filing a police report of alleged sodomy. Then they tried all ways to win over Permatang Pauh, and failed. Now the Malaysian Government, through the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission has asked Malaysia’s internet service providers to block access to Raja Petra Kamaruddin’s blog, Malaysia Today.

It is an ill-calculated move because the messagethis move sends out is that the Malaysian Government is desperate and that it is now clutching at straws to try to regain control of the political situation. It is ill-calculated because in this day and age you can’t really ban blogs without having egg on your face. Even then it is so easy for bloggers to set up mirror sites, such as this one, that it makes the move an exercise in total folly.

So why is the Malaysian government so steadfast in their own Long march of Folly?

The reason, IMHO, is that they have been in power so long and created an incestuous system of patronage and servility that they know of no other way to handle dissent.

If they had any brains they would get in some really smart advisors and take on Raja Petra Kamaruddin rather than block his site and make a martyr out of him. It is not that hard to do. RPK is passionate but he is also given to exaggerations, overstatements and a cavalier treatement of facts.

It would not take much from a professional to debunk what he says. And if the government can do that they would have merely a discredited discontent on their hands, rather than the martyred blogger, angry and a symbol of defiance against a government unable to restore control in their own country.

Wake up UMNO. The bells are tolling and they toll for you.

8 thoughts on “Blog ban a sign of a more deperate Malaysian government?

  1. Desperate people do desperate things, even if they are counter-productive or just plain STUPID.

    This has become a fight to the death (for some people, literally) and those currently in power know that some of them will end up in jail after PKR takes over.

    It is going to get a lot nastier for Malaysia before it gets better. After all, it is said that the darkest hour is just before dawn.


  2. Does the government even understand how the cyber space works?

    They are talking rubbish!

    Opah is right. Things will get worse before it gets better.

    And despite the mnany serious setbacks, the Cabinet and the top civil service guys are still arrogant, insensitive and totally out of tune with the rakyat. The government’s eventual fall may be nasty.


  3. A lame and misguided attempt by the authorities that will only serve to embarrass the government further. MCMC couldn’t have a picked a worst time; at the moment when the country can least afford it – to alienate the big IT firms that had taken the country so long to court in the first place.

    How stupid can they get?


  4. One possible explanation for why the Malaysian government would do something that appears to be so contrary to their interest could be that BN wants to court Muslim conservatives by appearing to crack down on “anti-muslim sentiments.” Apart from that I find it hard to find a rational explanation beyond the hammer and nails approach.


  5. @Sverrebm: Reading Barbra Tuchman’s book may give you an insight into why sometimes governments undertake a “March of Folly” that is patently against their own vested interests.

    Human beings very often do things that are irrational. Reminds me also of the ideas in the book “Stumbling on Happinss” where the author (I forgot his name) explains why the mind is a very unreliable instrument.


  6. Well, occasionally governments (and others) do behave irrationally. But sometimes there is also a logical pattern to what seems irrational, and not taking the time to review those possiblities can lead to dangerous underestimations. I tend to look for other explanations than stupidity first…

    Then of course BN has a history of acts of desperation, as I believe was the case with the Anwar matter in ’98.


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