The West values freedom of speech, writing and thinking. Where speech is free, opinion is valued, no matter how stupid our views.
So it is a shock to me that Malaysia is moving to curb bloggers on what they write.
Khairy Jamaluddin, the son-in-law of the prime minister, reportedly said: 'Dakwa penulis blog. Biar monyet lain takut' (Charge bloggers in court. Let the other monkeys get scared).
Are we priming the country towards dictatorship? Like, ehem, Pakistan or previously, Iraq? Are we reducing parliament to be a mere rubber stamp for the incoming dictator? Notice that Khairy makes the call first, then Umno politicians follow suit and formulate policies which will then be rubber-stamped by the rest of the BN coalition.
I don't understand how the government is going to muzzle blogs. A blog is like free speech. As long as people have a mouth to speak, believe me, they will. In recent history, dictators started to move by controlling the media, then free speech. We know that prime media in Malaysia are all controlled by the ruling parties, leaving only online media to be relatively free. Is this the precursor to a dictatorship?
My recent attempts to surf Raja Petra Kamarudin's Malaysia Today blog has been thwarted by a 'Site unavailable' page or 'Server too busy' announcement. Proof that his website has become even more popular as the premier source of news for Malaysia.
My congratulations to Raja Petra. If what Malaysian bloggers write are all slander, all the government should do is to deny it. Or sue the blogger for defamation if they have a strong case.
But rounding up the bloggers and sending them to jail? That's draconian. That's sounds like what the late Saddam Hussein would do.