Internet Blackout Day: The whys and what-fors
By A. Asohan August 14, 2012
- DNA takes unanimous decision to support #Stop114A movement
- Government needs to stop unilateral lawmaking
IF YOU’RE coming in from Digital News Asia’s main page today (Aug 14), or via the pages for any one of our seven channels, you would have been subjected to a pop-up public service message.
I hate pop-ups. I hate repressive and ill-conceived laws that stifle free speech even more. My partners at DNA feel pretty much the same way, which is why it was a unanimous decision to support civil society’s protest against a law that was rushed through and passed in ninja fashion: Stealthily and sneakily.
It is a piece of legislation that in reality encourages the very problems it purports to resolve: Now, it makes even more sense for people to set up fake accounts or comment anonymously. Black-hat hackers and cyber-troopers are going to be very busy indeed.
An amendment was made to the Evidence Act 1950 without consultation, with nary a debate, with absolutely no discussion with the people of Malaysia, and without due consideration for the facts. For a brief summary of what Section 114A is, and how it affects every one of us, click here.
When it comes to lawmaking and governance (or lack thereof) in Malaysia, this is business as usual. It is time we, the people of Malaysia, send a clear message to our Government that this is no longer an acceptable practice. Indeed, it is no longer even a tenable practice for a government that claims a reform and transformation agenda.
It just doesn’t make sense, now that we are more than a decade into the 21st century, and more than 50 years after having achieved Independence.
To the Government of Malaysia, please consider this:
1) The era of government knows best is over
Yes, we know our Prime Minister said this, but the rest of you are certainly doing your best to make him look like a hypocrite. Guess what? He was absolutely correct when he made the declaration above. Please support him and do not sabotage his plans and programs for the nation and the rakyat (citizenry).
2) Talk to us
You’d be surprised at how informed and intelligent the rakyat can be if you share your concerns with us and ask us our opinions. Indeed, in the many forums and discussions organized by various NGOs and civil society bodies on Section 114A, some great ideas and areas of concern have been brought to light. Guess what? We have some fantastic technical and legal minds in the country. Make use of them.
3) Open those doors, let some fresh air in
Stop doing things behind closed doors. Be more transparent and inclusive in setting targets for the nation. Guess what? It is not about you and your plans. It is about us and our aspirations. Democracy is also about self-determination: Let us take part in the process.
4) Darn Opposition politicos
Yeah, every time you try to do something, those darn Opposition fellas have to get in there mess things up with their questions and criticisms. Every. Single. Time. (Well, except for Section 114A which slipped under the radar). Guess what? It’s the reality of any democracy. Deal with it. That’s what we pay you for.