Perak Fiasco: What do you do when people are networked and the world is watching?

If your action must be drastic, do it in one fell swoop, not in agonizing stages

Thus Machiavelli advised would be rulers. If Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak had taken Machiavelli’s advice then he would not have just forcibly ejected the Speaker from the Perak State Assembly and arrested a few other people. He would have had to throw into prison, under the ISA, hundreds of people who had blogged, twittered, videocast and otherwise reported on the incident for the whole world to see.

If he can do this then there is a chance that he will continue to have a firm hold the reins of power in Malaysia for a long time to come. That was what Mahathir did in 1987 when he launched Operasi Lallang. Then, Mahathir not only went for the journalists who did not toe the line but also anyone else who could be a possible irritant and hindrance to his political dominance. He threw over a hundred people into prison and shut down a few newspapers.

The awe and fear experienced by the nation was amplified by a vacuum of information from whatever remained of the emasculated mass media.

But that was 1987. Way before blogs, Twitter, mobile handphones with cameras and other New Media came into the picture. Continue reading “Perak Fiasco: What do you do when people are networked and the world is watching?”