Your MP’s Question of the Week #7

Information empowers as well as liberates and serves to keep the authority as well as the public well informed as a constant check and balance measure for the overall good of the country.

Tomorrow being World Press Freedom Day, should the government then abolish all licensing requirement and press & printing acts to facilitate the truth to surface at all times in the interest of transparency, good governance and true democracy?

– Terjemahan oleh Lee Wee Tak – Ucapan ribuan terima kasih dari Wee Choo Keong –

Soalan Mingguan WR Anda #7

Maklumat memperkuatkan keupayaan dan melapangkan fikiran orang ramai serta bertujuan supaya orang ramai dan pihak berkuasa perasan apa yang sedang berlaku dan ini akan mewujudkan suatu keadaan penyemakan dan pembetulan yang boleh memanfaatkan negara.

Oleh kerana esok adalah Hari Kebebasan Berita Sedunia, patutkah kerajaan (nota penterjemah: lebih patut guna perkataan “pentadbiran” kerana para wakil rakyat bukanlah keturunan raja) membubarkan segala peraturan-peraturan perlesenan dan akta-akta percetakan dan pemberitaan supaya kebenaran akan senantiasa terpapar untuk kebaikan kesahihan, pentadbiran baik dan demokrasi?

– 翻译员:angel_x , Wee Choo Keong 致于万二分谢意

阿強每週一問 #7



19 thoughts on “Your MP’s Question of the Week #7

  1. Anonymous

    Press freedom is an integral part of Westminster model of Parliamentary Democracy. It is an open secret that press freedom does not exist in Malaysia. Most, if not all, of the main stream media (msm) are owned by the ruling parties. Politically appointed Editors and/or Editorial Advisors are one of the major reasons why Malaysia is languishing right at the bottom of the list of countries that enjoy press freedom. Thailand is far ahead of Malaysia in term of practising real press freedom. Aren’t we ashame of this glaring fact?Badawi should launch another reform by banning all political parties from owning equity in main stream newspapers and abolish Printing Presses Act. Of course, he will never do it becasue he will be the first victim of press freedom.

  2. Angel_X

    We don’t have first amendment like the US…..Press freedom doesn’t even being written in our constitution, which is crap.Well, even though we can’t rewrite the Federal Constitution to be more liberal, we can also safely assure that BN can’t toy around the constition like they used to for at least 5 years from now…..At least we are a bit more free than Singapore.

  3. Anonymous

    Pak Lah will just announce another reform and that’s about it. Just like so many reform and nothing happened after that.Malaysians must tell him that he is screwing up the country by his endless anouncements from corridor to corridor, 9th Malaysian Plan and judiciary.Until this date the IPMC regarding police complaint, Badawi has yet to implement it.

  4. delCapo

    i doubt we will get complete press freedom, brother Wee…Doesn’t mean we stop trying to push for it…Perhaps “fair press coverage” for a start, in the so-called main stream media for a start… instead of propogandas and biased reporting..

  5. Wee Choo Keong

    anon 02-05-08, angel-X & decalpoI fully agree with your views. Thank you angel-x for the translation.I believe that Pak Lah administration has no political will to have a real reform for press freedom. If there was a real press freedom, the BN federal government would have been thrown out.I do agree with decalpo here that for a start the msm should try to practice basic rule of journalism by fair reporting and not slant the story to fit certain agendas of not only the ruling parties but ceratin personalities in the ruling parties. These journalists asre MERCENARIES. Some of them are quite happy with a free trips and others expect more.Of course, there are also good journalists too.Malaysia does not need he draconian laws like Official Secret Act and Printing and Publication Act, both of which are afront to press freedom.The MSM can try to practice the old style of journalism whereby they distort facts and even figures (for example number of people involving in the Bersih rally in Octoner 2007 from 60,000 to only less than 5,000) but such practice will affect their credibilities eventuaslly. Members of the public can now turn to blogs for information and compare the reports.Generally, bloggers are very professional in their blogs and they are mindful that credibility is the order of the day.So let see whether the MSM like NST, Star and others are prepared to campaign for real freedom of the press begining with the call for the abolition of the Official Secret Act and Printing and Publication Act.Lets all wait patiently and see whether the MSM will serve society that support them or their owners, who are the ruling poltical parties.

  6. Me... Only Better

    The current MSM can keep their political masters for all I care.What we need is an allowance for other independent media/stations/papers in order for the people to get fair and balanced reporting and make informed decisions.The repressive publishing laws and OSA, Seditions Acts must also be repealed/amended, because they are currently being used to serve the interests of the corrupt and to hide the truth from the people.The politicians are beholden to the people. Not the other way around.”Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one.” BTW, I want to add another person to our list of people to give up their cushy jobs. Because they don’t deserve it. Can read on my blog, meh.

  7. Syed Omar

    Freedom of press is a must ! Licensing in some form is amust also as a source of reveneu. RESPONSIBILITY and ACCOUNTABILITY shall be reflective on both sides for whatever information dessimenated.

  8. Joon Ian

    That’s a leading question, Mr Wee. Press freedom will not be gained simply be removing the licensing regime; what’s needed is a battery of laws and professional norms to allow the industry to regulate itself without undue restriction on reporting or, conversely, undue license to publish unwarranted harmful information. however, getting rid of licensing is a good start. it will remove the sword hanging over the heads of editors, although it will not mean we have created a free press yet.

  9. Michelle

    Just want to point out that Malaysia is currently ranked 141 out of 195 countries in press freedom, meaning that we have very very little press freedom compared to many other countries.(survey by Freedom House)Then there is also a case where an Australian newspaper reported a newspaper raid in Australia and likened it to Malaysia.(The Australian)This can’t be good for Malaysia’s image, especially since we claim to be a democratic country, and yet we have no press freedom.If you are interested, both the articles mentioned above are in my blog.(both tagged media)Thank you, and good luck in Parliament.

  10. Anonymous

    What press freedom in Malaysia? All the senior management of the MSM are mercenaries. They will do anything for money and position. They have no principle at all. We need another big tsunami to change their mindset. we mustfight this mercenaries at all costs. YB Wee, you must expose them in Parliament when you have a chance.

  11. orchid

    Let’s not just stop removing the draconian laws and restrictions on press freedom here. I believe that the key lies in education and awareness – and it should start in the schools and colleges and universities. Encouraging the kids to speak freely, write freely and think freely may be the beginning of a small step towards a nation of free people.

  12. everydog has his day

    THE CORRUPTION OF MAHATHIR -Never-Published Reply from George SOROS to Mahathir during Asian Financial Crisis 1997-98 (adapted from Bangkok Post)I have always said Dr Mahathir is a menace to his own people. Now only you can see the effects of his foolishness when the ringgit has halved its value overnight and your economy goes kaput. Single handedly you have caused hardship to millions of your own people. You have built useless mega projects at tremendous cost to the country.The Telecoms Tower in Kuala Lumpur and the highest building in the world show how stupid you are. Not only does it cause massive traffic jam, it has totally no purpose. If you need high ground for telecoms antennae a nearby mountain is there for free. This tower has no purpose from the ground up to 300 metres. The satelites make this totally unneccesary.A fool and his money are soon parted. The only thing is you are the fool and the money belongs to Malaysians. You make 20% in evey project, you have real estate in Japan and billions of sharescorruptly acquired. Your 3 sons are worth 8 billion US$. Where dothey get this money? Of course, corruption. You are known as theMarcos of Malaysia, having enriched yourself to the tune of billions.You dare to shed crocodile tears during UMNO delegates meeting about the ills of corruption. Yet you are the most corrupt of all the prime ministers before you. A thief is crying thief and hopes people look the other way. Who dares to say anything when the chief is caught with his hands in the candy jar?You said wisdom is not the monopoly of the West. So is foolishness.You have more foolishness than most people would believe. Billions are used to build two high rise Petronas buildings that benefit nobody. It now stand tall, a symbol of stupidity and irresponsibility Instead they just add on to traffic jam. What is this reclamation of10 islands off Kedah? Totally absurb and stupid. Of course your benefit is 20%. And the bridge across from Malacca to Sumatra across international waters? Why not build a bridge to the moon? I am sure you still can get your 20%.You called me a Moron. How can a Moron make so much money. By allowing short selling and borrowing millions of shares from your banks we fund managers made millions out of your inexperience and poor regulations. You lose all Malaysians money, therefore you are the Moron. Now you know too late and start crying over split milk. In Australia you are known as the recalcitrant ego maniac; in UK the corrupt bastard because of your stupid purchase of our movie studio and the 290 million ringgit Lotus racing car plant and the shady Pergau dam loans from the UK. They are useless to us and you still want to buy them. What about buying British reject submarines through your agent, of course. The agent/ broker is designed to make millions out of Malaysian government. Your purchase of our battleships is at least 50% more than others are paying. Your purchase of 9 hospitals from UK lock, stock and barrel does not support your local architects or your industry and the British send you obsolete medical equipment.The design is atrocious, one end to the other is half a kilometer and there is no CT-scan, an absolute necessity. In the UK your face appears in no less than 17 newspapers as a corrupt dictator. In Malaysia you are known as the (IBM) International Big Mouth. In Japan they call him the ‘smallest one’ (brain size). In Pacific island the Santa Claus (giving advice left and right). In South America they call him the parrot (he talks a lot but does not know what it is about). In Manila the living Marcos.In Malaysia they are spending millions to lure tourists and you talkrubbish, scaring every foreigner away. “When he is dumb he is doubted a fool, when he opens his mouth it removes all doubt.”While I agree the West does not have the monopoly to wisdom, your actions are not the wisest either. Your EAEC has totally no support even in Asean. Your South-South dialogue meets with the same fate and what is this I hear of the Bridge from Malaysia to Indonesia covering 20 miles across international shipping lanes? How crazy can one get?Even the Japanese don’t have the money. This world’s stupidity seems to be concentrated in one man’s mind – yours.The multimedia super corridor – MSC -. Well in USA it’s a most stupid concept because we Americans would have thought of it light years before. Even if it makes money, we can copy this concept can’t we?Why do you want to spend your hard-earned money doing questionable projects? It will be like the Bakun project. Abandoned fund wasted and another white elephant. I always say politicians should not be involved in business. Your ministers are also businessmen and almost every official is enriching himself. Look at Rafidah Aziz, selling thousands of Approved Permit for cars each worth 20-30 thousand Malaysian dollars. Why not your government sell them and make the money? She has acquired millions of shares meant for Bumis for free before she agrees to list them. Look at your Selangor Chief Minister collecting millions for approving high rise buildings from businessmen. He is worth a few billions. Unfortunately he was caught with a few millions pocket money in Australia. Every Chief minister is awarding useless projects to his cronies then collecting secret payoffs on the side. The Land Development Boards and the Economic Development Boards are used to bail out any loses suffered by politicians. The profits they keep, the loses they force the Government bodies to absorb. How can your poor ever close the gap when every good deal is snatched by your politicians? How can your country get out of poverty if all the billions of corruption money is taken out of the country?Look at the Sarawak Chief Minister selling billions worth of timber concessions under the table; selling every piece of state land to businessmen without tender; using his own companies to obtain lucrative government contracts; selling approval signatures for a fee ‘you pay I approve’. He has 8 billion US $ stashed overseas. Thousands of acres of land are given to one or two companies while thousands of poor people still live in cardboard makeshift homes, have no water and shit into the river. Thousands of acres of land are sold to companies for plantations while the natives don’t have even one acre to their name. He is selling sand near the beaches to one company for earth filling and then asks the government to spend millions to protect the coastline when erosion occurs. He lost 300 millions of the Sarawak Government’s money trying to make computer chips. He has built a port in Northern Sarawak town in water so shallow it needs dredging every year.The Prime Minister built highways without tender, your cronies get the deal and the price doubles. Your Langkawi airport runway is built at double the cost by your own company Ekran.The Malaysian nation has lost at least 30 billions during your last 10 years of corrupt rule. One billion lost from the purchase of phantom skyhawk war planes nobody has ever seen (are they still in the Nevada desert USA?). 3 billion lost from the London tin scandal – you thought you could corner the London tin market without knowing the Americans have a stockpile! Stupidity at its best. 6 billion Perwaja steel mill where nobody even know where the money goes, 3 billion Bank Bumiputra scandal where George Tan bribed all the bank officials to lend him the money. 6 billion forex loss by Bank Negara (the fool and his money are soon parted) and 6 billion to build three of the world’s tallest buildings (built by Japanese and Koreans and furniture imported from France – not Malaysia) and 1 billion lost from purchase of British warships including fees paid to the broker and under the table. Add the 10 billion you stole and 5 billion taken by Ministers.In the 1997 the World Journalists meeting voted Dr Mahathir the Prime Minister of the Decade. It sounded strange to everybody until it was revealed those who voted against were threatened by IRD offi
    cers and with losing their jobs. In New York the United Nations 1997 meeting, the most corrupt Prime Minister of the decade is President Suharto and second Dr Mahathir (Actually Dr Mahathir should take first place but bribed the Indonesian to take honour of Number One).There are fifty thousand of your university students who are not given places in Malaysia but are good enough for places overseas resulting in billion of dollars lost. The British and the Australians are thinking ‘how stupid’. Your best students are sent overseas raising their standards while as in most countries the best are kept in local universities and the rejects sent overseas. A university student in Hong Kong is much more prestigious than any Australian counterpart. You have been colonised by the British so long you cannot even educate your own people. Look at Hong Kong or Singapore less than 5% study overseas. All the money saved. Your country could save billions if every student overseas is recalled to a local university, and at the same time raising your own standards.Your people are still without shoes, without land to farm, without homes, bathing in rivers, shitting in holes in the ground, without water and electricity. Your cities are concrete jungles without greenery and open spaces. Your KL is jammed with traffic. Yet you still keep on building high rises. You should come down from the clouds and stop daydreaming and firmly plant your feet in the ground. Your schools are cramped, 500 students to an acre and thousands of acres are given free to some politician who leaves them idle. Your parks are being taken by politicians to build shophouses and every cabinet minister is a land-grabbing businessman who build roads only to their cronies’ land.The Malaysians’ prayer “Ya Allah, we thank you for your gifts of timber, oil and grain.But then the devil sent us corrupt Mahathir without a BrainAnd look we are back to square one againSo just take Dr Mahathir back to HellAnd we will be alive and well.” In China people have been shot for embezzling one thousand dollars. With 8 billions you have stolen therefore you would be shot 80 thousand times. Now you are leading an anti-corruption campaign. We all know what you should do. Look yourself in the mirror. You see the crook there?Then use your left hand and handcuff your right hand.You have put the opposition leader and his son in jail when they said in parliament you are the richest PM in the world. And his colleague Mr Karpal Singh too, for 2 years. So I get a reward or bribe if I now say you are the poorest PM in this world?Your 3 sons are sitting in the board of directors of more than 200 companies. They must have been educated in Harvard school of business and obtained distinctions! Or is it “you don’t know me you don’t do business in Malaysia” law that applies? Billions of ringgit of Employees’ Provident Funds and public Petronas funds are used to bail out your sons who make losses investing in every venture you thought you could make money. How unethical and corrupt.Every one of your politicians are sitting on the boards of tens of companies making thousands without any effort, lending their VIP names to borrow millions from local banks without collateral. Now these have become non performing loans. Now you want 20 million Malaysian to sacrifice for the folly of ONE man? Why not the fool resign and admit he wasted and took most of the money. I could teach you how to put your economy on track but first you must apologize to the Jews and the Malaysian people as well. GEORGE SOROS

  13. Anonymous

    The Badawi Government should immediately repeal teh Printing and Publicastion Act, Official Secret Act and other oppressive Acts if Badawi is dead serious in wanting to reform the country. Of course, he willnot do it because he needs to control the press in order to save himself, his family including SIL and cronies.

  14. Anonymous

    Pak Lah is still keeping quiet about press freedom. May be the 4th floor boys have not yet told him what to do. So Pak Lah can carry on dreaming until he is told what to do by 4th floor boys. If Pak Lah allow press freedom then the 4th floor boys will be out of job because they can no longer call or give instructions to the press what to publish and what not to publish. Press freedom will also spells the end of the reign of SIL and Pak Lah cronies like Patrick Badawi and the like.

  15. every dog has his day

    By October 1983, Malaysians were becoming aware that a constitutional crisis was in full swing. The Constitution (Amendment) Bill 1983 had been passed by both houses of Parliament, but the King, under pressure from his fellow rulers, was refusing to give his Royal Assent to it.The bill would remove the need for the King to assent to legislation, and would similarly do away with the need for Sultans to assent to State laws. It would also take away the King’s power to declare an Emergency and give it to the Prime Minister.The Rulers publicly rejected these amendments after a meeting in Selangor on Nov 20, 1983. When the public became aware that a storm was brewing, Dr Mahathir’s administration initiated a propaganda war to put pressure on the Rulers.There took place a “series of illegal public rallies held by Umno in Alor Star, Bagan Datoh, Seremban, Batu Pahat, Malacca, for the Prime Minister with reports of officially inflated crowd figures?.” as Lim Kit Siang would later describe them in the Dewan Rakyat.These rallies, staged in order to generate sympathy for the Government’s cause, were illegal in the sense that police permits were neither sought nor granted.Whether or not the crowd figures were inflated by the Umno-aligned media – it is true that they generally reported these events in positive terms – it is clear that the 1983 rallies were exciting evenings, with republican sentiments on everyone’s minds, if not exactly on their lips. One of the most arresting images in Rais Yatim’s Faces in the Corridor of Power is a photograph of two youths at one such rally. They are wearing T-shirts bearing Dr Mahathir’s picture and the words “DAULAT RAKYAT”.Although the Prime Minister denied wanting to abolish the monarchy, at these rallies “the historical moment of unfolding Malay nationalism was relived as a continuing battle of Malay popular sovereignty against royal hegemony,” as Khoo Boo Teik writes in Paradoxes of Mahathirism.At a rally in Alor Star on Nov 26, Dr Mahathir declared that “It was the rakyat who had protested against the Malayan Union after the Second World War; it was the rakyat who wanted a democratic system that would enable them to choose their own leaders. It was always the people who had fought for their destiny.”At the largest rally, in Batu Pahat, Dr Mahathir told the crowds, in a thinly veiled dig at hereditary rulers, “We weren’t born Ministers ? We’re up here because we were chosen by all of you.”The unrelenting propaganda war continued, with tales of royal extravagance and improprieties emerging. Someday someone will compile all the specifics from research in the newsapaper archives of those trying times in the eighties and nineties. We Malaysians had short memories no doubt but not entirely forgetful. The Government leaked the fact that they were compiling dossiers on the Sultans. RTM announced they were preparing a year-long TV series on the Rulers and the Constitution – all instigated by Mahathir in his war with royalty.Yet pro-royal rallies took place too – especially in Kelantan and Terengganu, where Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah was rumoured to be responsible for them – and they drew large crowds, although they went unreported by the media.Upping the ante, the Umno Youth executive council called for the Government to gazette the Constitution (Amendment) Bill without waiting for the King’s assent, effectively daring the Rulers to challenge it in court. Dr Mahathir did not immediately adopt this strategy, but held this “nuclear option” in reserve while behind-the-scenes negotiations continued with the Rulers.Public opinion was divided over the issue. Rural Malays tended to support the Rulers; urban Malays, while not uncritical of Mahathir’s strategies and motives, were more ready to accept egalitarian ideas.As for the Chinese community, R.S. Milne and Diane K. Mauzy note in Malaysian Politics Under Mahathir that “One might have expected that, since the rulers and the Agung were symbols of ‘Malayness’ the Chinese would feel little loyalty to them. Paradoxically, they were quite pro-royalty, because they did not really trust Malay politicians. Indeed, they viewed the Agung and the rulers as protectors of their vital interests.”There seemed to be no way out of the impasse except by compromise – which is what happened. The Rulers agreed to the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill 1983 on the condition that many of its provisions were modified or repealed immediately with the introduction of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 1984.The new bill, passed in January 1984, meant that the King could now only delay a piece of non-money legislation for a month. It then had to be sent back to Parliament with his objections. If the King still opposed it in the form in which Parliament then passed it, he could only delay it for another month before it was gazetted as law.The King could therefore only delay legislation for up to two months before it became the law of the land. But this principle was no longer extended to the State level: Sultans still needed to assent to State bills before they became law, which was an important symbolic victory. Most importantly for those who feared Dr Mahathir’s supposed plan to concentrate power in his own hands, the bill removed the proposed ability of the Prime Minister to declare an Emergency by himself, and restored it to the King.Nonetheless, Dr Mahathir saw himself as having won, declaring at a victory rally in Malacca that the feudal system had ended. He had brought his theatrical, confrontational, unapologetically antagonistic style to a high-stakes arena and had, by some accounts at least, triumphed over the Malay Rulers. Not even the King dare to challenge Mahathir. That’s how powerful he was then. He kepy dossiers of the dark side of everyone, even the royalty is not spared. The Special Branch was at his beck and call, being the Home Minister himself. Withe the waning threat of the communists, these SB personnel need to keep themseilves fruitfully occupied and Mahathir see to it that they serve him fully.He quickly moved to consolidate his gains. Stories had been circulating that the head of the army, Jen Tan Sri Mohd Zain Hashim, was opposed to Mahathir’s approach and believed the armed force’s loyalty lay with the Rulers. Mohd Zain took early retirement. This was followed by a reorganisation of the army and some 500 other early retirements and dismissals.When the independent-minded Sultan of Johor took over as Yang di-Pertuan Agong in 1984, some feared (and some hoped) that royal activism would reassert itself.As Roger Kershaw writes in Monarchy In South-East Asia: Faces of Tradition in Transition, “From the beginning, the Agong had made no secret of his contempt for Mahathir on the grounds of his mixed blood, calling him, to his face, ‘Mamak’ (a derogatory nickname for those of Indian Muslim ancestry). [?] But Dr Mahathir had proved more than a match for this difficult sovereign. Having got the measure of the King’s essential vanity and exhibitionism, he prudently pandered to it, even to the extent of placing a more convenient Royal Malaysian Airforce helicopter at his permanent disposal?.”Through this and other measures, Dr Mahathir maintained good relations with the new King, enlisting him in his 1987 move against the judiciary, the effects of which are still felt today.The Prime Minister’s campaign continued. He silenced the Rulers over the issue of the 1987 ISA detentions; staged a hostile debate on the monarchy in the 1990 Umno general assembly after the loss of Kelantan to PAS; removed the Rulers’ immunity to prosecution following the constitutional crisis of 1992-93; stripped away their flights, outriders, and special hospital wards; and in 1994, with little opposition, finally removed the need to obtain the Rulers’ assent for State laws.Looking back, we can see how the bars of the yellow silk cage began to go up in 1983, closing in year after year.Should we find it surprising, then, that after 25 years the tigers within should want to break free? Can we not understand that the Rulers might want to regain what has been lost?And here is the hardest question of all: without giving up our democratic ideals, in a cynical and disloyal age, can we find a way to let our Rulers rule?Note: The above article by Huzir Sulaiman appears in RPK’s MALAYSIA TODAY. Huzir regularly writes for theatre, film, television, and newspapers.

  16. yapchongyee

    Dear Mr Wee !I have posted my letter to Maverick SM and it sums up what the issue that I want to pursue. I want to go to KL after the Olympics and I need maximum Media covergae, and that will mean putting my case to the public. This is best achieved by getting political support from the opposition. I hope to emlist your support.My Email is : phnoe No. is (08)93302547

  17. Penulis Tamu

    kebebasan akhbar adalah hak rakyat. Sekatan dalam bentuk undang-undang tidak perlu dilakukan di negara pengamal demokrasi seperti di Malaysia ini (demokrasi?)Pada pandangan saya, sempena hari kebebasan akhbar ini eloklah kerajaan mengambil satu dasar untuk membebaskan belenggu kebebasan bersuara dengan memansuhkan sekatan – sekatan penerbitan.Namun demikian, kita sepakat untuk menentang laporan yang tidak benar, yang berniat jahat dan bersifat menghasut. sekian, sekadar pandangan dari rakyat wangsa maju.

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