Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Mike Tyson Vs. M-Today
Or UMNO Vs. Bloggers?

The police report lodged yesterday by UMNO Information Chief, Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib (Mike Tyson) against Raja Petra Kamarudin (Pet or RPK) and Malaysia Today is being widely perceived not as a straight forward case of Mike Tyson versus Raja Petra. The general perception is that it is a case of UMNO versus Malaysian bloggers in general. It is also generally viewed as a move to instill fear and anxiety within the community of Malaysian political bloggers.

In his report, Muhammad allegedly said that Malaysia Today had published “a series of comments and remarks that it deemed as insulting the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, degrading Islam and inciting hatred and violence in Malaysia's multi-racial society.”

In reply to this accusation, RPK said in his latest article posted yesterday: “Many people from the media phoned me today to ask me my comments on the police report against Malaysia Today and me. Well, this is my response to that police report against Malaysia Today and me. I would just like to say: go to hell Muhamad the son of Muhamad. You are a disgrace to the Muhamad name. And let me tell you Muhamad the son of Muhamad: you should thank your lucky stars that this is 2007 and not 1907. If this was 1907 instead of 2007 I would challenge you to a duel. It would be a man-to-man, one-to-one duel. It would be a duel to the death with kerises.”

To read more of what RPK has written, please click on the following link: To most people, RPK’s article is being considered as one write-up which will cause more damage to Muhammad’s credibility compared to Mohammad’s allegation against RPK.

Most local netcitizens have the perception that the latest move by UMNO may become a prelude to a possible crackdown on political bloggers in Malaysia. I don’t know how far this is true, but one thing may be possible - the police report made by Mohammad against RPK could be one of the many developments we might witness in the coming weeks or months.

Many Malaysians also believe that the move is not initiated by the government or its relevant ICT enforcement agencies. It is perceived as more of a move made by UMNO said to be aimed at creating fear and anxieties within the circle of Malaysian political bloggers in particular, and all other Malaysian bloggers in general.

In short, the police report against Malaysia Today and RPK is being considered by many as a case of UMNO versus Bloggers. And, ultimately, it is generally believed that UMNO, not the bloggers, is the one who is going to suffer the losses. It is so because the majority of bloggers in Malaysia are not like RPK, Datuk A Kadir Jasin, Datuk Rejal Arbee, Datuk Paduka Marina Mahathir, Ahirudin Attan, Jeff Ooi and I, who gentlemanly and voluntarily display our real identities in our respective blogs.

Instead, most Malaysian political bloggers are still blogging behind masks and secret identities. They are mostly professionals of various disciplines; including engineers, lawyers, financial analysts, journalists, medical doctors, academicians and politicians from both of the divides.

According to a bloggers’ on-line dirctory - - currently there are 500 political bloggers in Malaysia. And this number is proliferating by the day. True enough, majority of these bloggers are using secret identities.
UMNO and Muhammad can therefore do whatever that they think needs to be done to achieve their political ends and objectives. UMNO can take actions against bloggers of my kind, if it thinks that it is both necessary and timely. But, can UMNO stop those Zorro political bloggers from uploading their views and opinions about fairness, equality, transparency, truth and justice on to the cybersphere?

UMNO and Muhammad may be able, to a certain degree, to “gag” political bloggers who dare to expose their own names and identities. UMNO and Muhammad can do this through various ways and means - subtly, covertly, openly or officially. But, can they do the same to the Zorro category of political bloggers? I am sure the Zorros will hit back with a pace and manner which is more intense. I am very sure about this because the spirit of comradeship amongst the majority of Malaysian bloggers - irrespective of their of politics and ideologies - is very real, intact and sustainable. They will fight back with force and vigor. They will not easily surrender to threats and intimidations.

I am not the spokesman to the Malaysian bloggers in general. But, I am very sure of this comradeship because the majority of Malaysian bloggers are blogging from the bottom of their hearts in search of equality, fairness, truth, transparency and justice. They are not mercenaries like the ones allegedly under the stewardship of Azalina Othman. They are not paid a fixed monthly allowance believed to be within the range of RM1600 to RM2600 each. They do not blog for money. They write blogs voluntarily.

[I was told by an authoritative source yesterday that Azalina is currently said to have hired about 200 bloggers throughout the country. If we take an average monthly allowance of RM2,000 per blogger, this means that an amount of not less than RM400,000 is allegedly being spent on these mercenary cyber-troopers every month. A huge sum isn’t it? Whose money is it?]

Another significant point for UMNO to note is the strength of political bloggers in Malaysia. They have a big audience and followers. They also have big and wide cumulative daily hits. As of yesterday, Malaysia Today alone received almost four millions hits.

Taking all these into account, what Muhammad and UMNO has done to Malaysia Today and RPK, is being generally perceived as a counter productive effort. Many Malaysians believe that it creates backlash, it angers the majority of Malaysian bloggers and internet surfers, and it invites retaliations. It is also being perceived to even give more credence to the opposition in the forthcoming general election, said to be held in September 2007.

As a card carrying member of UMNO, I am definitely very concerned about this. But, does the party leadership have a similar view with me? If you do, please act accordingly in this case with your outmost wisdom and credibility.

In conclusion, I sincerely hope the party’s top leadership will seriously consider this humble opinion of mine for the sake of UMNO and the general well-beings of the the Malays. – Ruhanie Ahmad

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