Mike's >>>

Posts Tagged ‘Malaysia’

Dear Ministry of Education: Learn Web Metrics

In Malaysia, Online on September 21, 2008 at 3:46 pm

FMCG is for ‘fast moving consumer goods‘. Most readers will not care for such arcane info unless you have drunk ‘Lipton‘ tea, or pamper yourself with ‘Dove‘ products, or heard of ‘Ben and Jerry’s’ – you will have been affected by Unilever.

The oft-quoted statement by Lord Levehulme, founder of Unilever:

I know that half of my advertising budget is completely wasted, I’m just not sure which half.

I don’t wake up Sunday mornings thinking about Leverhulme, but I did when I read an article today, ‘English on the Web’ , about a website by our Ministry of Education:

THE Online Resources for Learning in English (MyLinE) which was specially created to help UTM students improve their language skills, has proven to be a hit. It’s been so popular that the website has been extended to students in the country’s 19 other public universities.

… By the second semester, the MyLinE website already had 158,192 hits.

Did they say 158K hits? Should it be ‘hits’ or ‘visitors’?

Read the rest of this entry »

“A matter of choice” / Updates / ‘kickdefella’ support

In Blogging, History on September 18, 2008 at 5:20 pm

A fellow blogger has commented that he just started a new one called Cendana Blues~Addicted to Politics. His other blog is: Recovery From Drug Addiction (in Malaysia).

As he made some comments here, I decided to reciprocate.

Here’s my post:

≈≈≈≈≈

Hi Mat,

Saw your comments at my blog. Thought I’d put in a word or two.

In particular, you mentioned:

“Since politics is generally a dirty business, I’m gonna get dirty and be dirty too.”

Well, it doesn’t have to be dirty.

Those who stoop so low will always be caught – in Malaysia or elsewhere. Some may take longer – like Stalin, some quicker – like Bush. No one is an island.

Read the rest of this entry »

Malaysia-in-progress – 15th Sep 2008 / Monday

In Malaysia on September 15, 2008 at 7:41 pm

Today

  • Law Minister of Malaysia just resigned over inappropriate use of ISA laws on Malaysian civilians.

UPDATE: Badawi has refused to accept Zaid Ibrahim’s resignation – 10.00pm today

  • One of the detainees, Raja Petra Karmaruddin, is on a hunger strike. Due to his medical condition, this might be fatal. Haris Ibrahim, a blogger, is raising the issue and asking for assistance.
  • Detainees, Teresa Kok and Raja Petra, and their lawyers have filed for habeas corpus.

My thoughts:

  • For background info in my posts on ISA, please click tag (bottom of page): “Suppression under ISA“.
  • Zaid Ibrahim, as Minister of Law, has taken a principled decision to leave our government. He should be applauded because that must have been agonising – can he make a difference whilst on the inside or should he leave to make a louder one-off protest – but then lose all internal decision-making influence within the Cabinet.
  • Zaid’s resignation, and the whole saga of using ISA by our government, is gaining traction in international news. And that’s good because now our ministers will have to face the rest of the world and explain why, as politicians, the do NOT make decisions – except our Minister of Law.
  • Final point: Was he not consulted? Why does he hold the portfolio? Does Badawi’s Cabinet even know what is Zaid Ibrahim’s role in the government?

A new template / What just happened?

In Blogging, Malaysia on September 15, 2008 at 8:24 am

As you can see, this is a new template. For several reasons:

1) It’s a cleaner look. No more clutter on the wings.

2) Better navigation. All links are now below. The top links – words between vertical bars – are the new pages. Also, the ‘Home’ which was duplicated in the prior theme is now removed. The landing page should be obvious, “Our Table?” … or not.

3) As requested, I’ve added info on my background = “Who and Why”.

4) This theme is from Derek Powazek, an ‘old’ web designer (in internet years). He writes for A List Apart, one of the oldest blogging sites around, and one of the first sites based entirely on CSS. Very nice site.

5) I don’t normally use RED as the contrast colour, but in this case it sure works.

On Malaysia’s lack of integrity: Badawi really screwed it up over the weekend. It appears the POLICE decides who to detain? What about the A-G? What about the Cabinet? I’m not quite sure if the police force has the authority. I have not read the legislation, but delegating to the police is the lowest I have heard.

More importantly, amongst other absurd developments, ministers are now not making decisions on ISA matters because, get this, ‘we are politicians‘.

Read the rest of this entry »

3 Malaysians arrested under ISA on 12th Sep 2008

In Malaysia on September 13, 2008 at 4:05 am

Yesterday, Friday, 12th Sep 2008, my government arrested the following individuals under the Internal Security Act (see also AP-GoogleNews):

1) Raja Petra Kamarudin, editor of Malaysia Today.

2) TAN Hoon Cheng, reporter at Sin Chew Daily

3) Teresa KOK, DAP and Seputeh Member of Parliament

Local politicians, civic organisations and international press:

All these started from a by-election in Permatang Pauh, Penang (see my first post) and here (Economist).

Whilst most Malaysians look forward to the weekend, three of my fellow countrymen, are stuck behind walls – calling them ‘prisoners of conscience’ is not half of it.

Read the rest of this entry »

What is Democracy? Who cares – I want my Judiciary!

In Malaysia on September 12, 2008 at 9:14 pm

(This post is going to require a cuppa or two for a slow read, and please remember at least one person is held under ISA because we’re not quite sure what’s going on in Malaysia at the moment.)

First, pls see my post on ‘Malaysians still blinking like Magoo‘. Note near the end I mentioned how ‘democracy’ is misused.

Second, I read an article by Irene Fernandez, whom I blogged on, here: “Malaysia – 10th Sep for Irene Fernandez“. Today, she posted an article at Malaysiakini: “Is 50 years enough“, as a reply to Dr Denison Jayasooria, Executive Director of MIC’s Social Strategic Foundation, where at the end she says:

Is it morally wrong to move forward the process so that we practice genuine democracy, we fight corrupton and instill good governance, we protect the rights of the people, we ensure our resources and our land is protected not just for ourselves but for our children and we free our women, children and ourselves from the violence of the state institutions? Is this transformation immoral?

Her argument is simply that we’ve screwed up for 50 years and we need to, morality requires us to, fix the crappy state of affairs in Malaysia.

I do not disagree with her.

But here’s the problem. Is democracy about good governance? Is democracy about protecting our resources and our land? More to the point, read what she said earlier in the article:

Read the rest of this entry »

20 years on – Malaysians still blinking like Magoo

In Blogging, Mainstream Media, Malaysia on September 12, 2008 at 5:48 pm

I know I said I’m going quiet.

But this is where we are today – 20 years after the dismissal of our Lord President Tun Salleh Abbas and 2 other Supreme Court judges (Tan Sri Wan Suleiman and Datuk George Seah).

A report was released 2 weeks ago, ‘Review of the 1998 Judicial Crisis in Malaysia (26 July 2008)‘ and 20 years on, Malaysians are still like blinking Magoo, the famously nearsighted character who always admonished himself, “Oh Magoo, you’ve done it again!”. Sound familiar?

Oh Malaysia, you’ve done it again Raja Petra of Malaysia Today was detained today under ISA (Malaysiakini).

There are many who see the event in 1988 as a political cause celebre – the famous Karpal Singh asking Mahathir to apologise, a blogger believing Mahathir has every right to condemn the report, and Malaysia’s Bar Council members posing for photos and getting authographs on the report.

Is that it? Politicians writing letters, Bar Council Presidents (current and former) taking photographs and others issuing statements? Let’s not pass the buck so much anymore, and raise the bar a little this time – let’s understand what happened in 1988 and repercussions it has on Malaysia today, 20 years later.

Read the rest of this entry »

Malaysia vs The World (Malaysiakini vs EFF)

In Blogging, Malaysia on September 10, 2008 at 7:25 pm

Dedicated to:

All in Malaysia who do not run online businesses and therefore might not appreciate the intricacies of network protocols, hacks, or web services:

Against anonymity: Generally, Malaysians – including Premesh Chandran of Malaysiakini – think it’s a form of cowardice because bloggers avoid disclosure of their actual identity on their blogs. This, he believes, is the same as not showing your idenity to our government. To this I say, its flawed thinking because, in Malaysia, the government requires less time than watching a Batman movie to figure out who you are for many, many reasons. Look, there’s no Data Protection Act, nor right to privacy in Malaysia. Hence, to claim you are releasing your actual name and thus is not a coward when criticising the government is just grandstanding. Our government knows who you are anyway. Nicknames, real names, false names are useless. The point: Don’t be fooled by grandstanding as you’re not anonymous to our government.

[NOTE: Updated 12th Sep, I know readers don’t normally read comments. Please note Premesh Chandran of Malaysiakini has commented on the above paragraph, pls see his point under the comments section]

What can you do? Unless you log in from jurisdictions with strong privacy laws, don’t for a minute think our government can’t figure you out. Even then, privacy is eroding in such places. Another way is counter-measures to anonymise your online surfing, but even if you use tor – they still might find out. So, you can’t do much.

Read the rest of this entry »

Malaysians, what do we want?

In Blogging, Malaysia on September 10, 2008 at 8:30 am

For several of my previous posts, I’ve fallen into a habit of emphasising letters written to Malaysiakini because they are well thought out and makes a point. So, here we go again.

A well-written letter at Malaysiakini by Keith Leong, ‘Reject Sectarian Violence‘, has made several points which all of us can be proud of.

The most important is in the middle where Keith says:

What is necessary for the creation of a just and unified Malaysia is a citizenry that is active, virtuous and conscious of both their rights and responsibilities.

So, as a duty and responsibility, I will take up the challenge of UMNO Youth Secretary Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, when he said on 8 Sep 2008 (The Star), there was ‘deafening silence‘ on the inappropriate actions by Anwar to become our next Prime Minister. Abdul Rahman also asked:

Where are the voices of NGOs, Bar Council and bloggers who had voiced loudly the need to protect the rights of people?

My posts on the irresponsible words and actions of Anwar Ibrahim are here, here and here (chronologically). More importantly, I have also questioned our current Prime Minister here and our former Prime Minister here.

Read the rest of this entry »

Malaysiakini and The Nut Graph – same old, same old

In Blogging, Mainstream Media, Malaysia on September 9, 2008 at 3:54 pm

Prelude:

Had a funny one and a half day, running around with my electricity provider. Thought I had missed my bill payment (which I did) but it wasn’t that, just a crocked fuse. Anyway, I paid them $600 for a few months – think I’ll need to learn to generate electricity just to stop myself going broke.

≈≈≈≈≈≈≈

Right, let’s get to the point.

Read an article at The Nut Graph, ‘Net TV: Does it click?, which I found quite boring and that’s their choice but anyway, I then saw a comment which basically questioned the relevance of The Nut Graph. Jacqueline Ann Surin, the vaunted editor at The Nut Graph gave the commenter ‘daniz’ quite a retort. So, in the interest of having open exchange, I did my bit.

Here’s my comments to the guys at The Nut Graph and the Jacqueline Ann Surin:

≈≈≈≈≈

Hello – The Nut Graph and Jacqueline,

I read your article on Net TV and the first question I ask is: how many? How many readers of Nut Graph actually watch programmes online? We don’t have the bandwidth, and frankly, I am not sure most users have an idea of what’s available online in general.

Read the rest of this entry »

Raja Petra Kamarudin + Anwar Ibrahim

In Malaysia on September 8, 2008 at 9:07 am

Reading the MalaysiaKini site, I notice this: “Is Anwar Unstoppable‘ by Raja Petra Kamarudin at Anwar’s site.

Excerpt:

Today, I received many phone calls from concerned friends who told me that the government is considering detaining me under the Internal Security Act ‘very soon’. If that does happen, then this could probably be the last article I write, at least until 16 September 2008. So I too need Anwar to succeed. If not I will be in Kamunting for quite some time to come and you will not hear from me over the next couple of years.

But if I am wrong…..well, then see you maybe in six or seven years time, because for sure Najib Tun Razak will not release me in 2010 when he becomes Prime Minister. What he would do, instead, would be to rollover my two-year detention another two years, and another two years, and another two years, until I am too old to think and write anymore.

Till we meet again, if we do meet again, take care and keep the flame burning. There is still a long fight ahead of us in bringing reforms to this beloved country of ours.

MalaysiaKini – remaining Web news after Malaysia Today?

In Mainstream Media, Malaysia on September 8, 2008 at 8:24 am

I’m posting this because I can’t help but think of Raja Petra’s Malaysia Today. It must have hit a nerve and Badawi’s administration is really not pleased. I’m wondering how much of the alleged seditious issues formed the basis of complaints against Raja Petra. Did politics have anything to do with it? Ok, I am naive. Ahem!

Anyway, I then found Stephen Gan’s discussion in on the reasons they are getting more subscribers today, which actually, validates my earlier post – Alternative vs Mainstream media in Malaysia – on the approx 200K daily visitors during our GE last March and the recent surge again. The presentation by Stephen Gan also speaks about the values that makes MalaysiaKini succesful, a short excerpt:

Although seen as an icon of the internet revolution, Gan made clear that Malaysiakini is at its heart driven by the classic values of professional journalism. Unlike most websites, it is run by fulltime journalists. Indeed, what distinguishes it from the mainstream press is that the journalists are fully in charge.

Read the rest of this entry »

For a better Malaysia – Tony Fernandez, Jeremiah and me

In Disconnected, Malaysia on September 7, 2008 at 9:00 am

Just read a letter at MalaysiaKini by I Jeremiah, Irrationality of rational racism‘. After you’ve read Jeremiah’s letter you should also read Tony Fernandezs (yes, the Tony Fernandez) post, Merdeka to All. Both of them make the same point, which is, we cannot keep doing this to ourselves.

OK. I’m going to stop here and wait for you to read the posts if you haven’t.

Ready?

Right, the first point that comes across from both posts is that racism (for that matter, any form of discrimination) is bad for you, bad for ourselves … simply bad. That’s it. No buts … no ifs … just bad, as a matter of fact.

Read the rest of this entry »

Alternative vs Mainstream Media in Malaysia

In Blogging, Mainstream Media, Malaysia, Online on September 6, 2008 at 5:44 pm

A recent report by Malaysia’s Center for Independent Journalism shows that local mainstream media has lost credibility. This is a short excerpt:

The survey revealed that Malaysians were critically assessing the content of the local mainstream media, upon which the majority relied heavily as sources of information. Asked to rate the performance of the mainstream media according to six indicators—ethical, variety of opinions included, variety of issues covered, objectivity, fairness and truthfulness—only 56 percent said they were all met; the figure plummetted to 35 percent when it came to fairness of reporting.

Full report available online – with pdf download at the bottom of the page (beside pics).

In terms of market share, this graph from Google Trends (beta) show that MalaysiaKini is doing exceedingly well. It’s ‘daily unique visitors’, particularly in the past 6 months, is indicative of Malaysians seeking alternative sources of information.

Here’s the graph: Read the rest of this entry »

Malaysia – 10th Sep for Irene Fernandez / 16th Sep for Anwar Ibrahim

In Malaysia on September 5, 2008 at 9:09 pm

About 16th September: another day in Malaysian politics

This is priceless.

Fearful of the opposition and under the banner of ‘We need to study’, the Malaysian coalition government is going to leave Malaysia, as reported by The Star.

After a strong showing by Anwar-led opposition in our general election last March, Abudullah Badawi thinks its good to idea to run away from 16th Sep – 11 days from now. Rumour has it on 16th Sep Anwar will lead a revolt and file for a no-confidence motion in Parliament.

Harris Ibrahim’s blog, People’s Parliament has a nice post on this and the comments it generated is quite tough reading because one senses how disliked BN is by the populace. But does that mean you go off to another country? Why Australia? Can’t the government ‘study’ in Malaysia?

When I first read this, I thought it’s got to be a joke because this is just the most absurd, hare-brained, strategically ridiculous idea any aspiring politician can think of (read ‘Tiong King Sing’ – see Star article)

Why? Because you need your allies/ friends / party members in Parliament on the 16th September 2008!

Read the rest of this entry »

Dear Prime Minister: Whose truth? Whose facts?

In Malaysia on September 5, 2008 at 5:39 am

(in support of A Joint Merdeka Day Message – available here)

On Wednesday, 3rd Sep 2008, our PM Abdullah Badawi said that we should ‘uphold truth without fear. Yet, I don’t think he understands the point.

It’s not the principle of telling the truth that Malaysians fear. So what if they did tell the truth? Will the relevant authorities act on principle? The last I heard, they are corrupt. Is that wrong? I also believe that they are quite incompetent. Is that also wrong? Finally, the banning of an entire website for comments relating to one post at Malaysia Today goes against the very grain of fairness and reason. Am I wrong to say this?

Read the rest of this entry »

Raja Petra’s Malaysia Today

In Blogging, Malaysia on September 4, 2008 at 8:00 am

There’s a strongly worded statement out by the Committee to Protect Journalists yesterday and that’s not good for Malaysia:

“The Malaysian government has reneged on its pledge not to censor the Internet by blocking Malaysia Today, and we call for the order to be immediately withdrawn,” said Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s Asia program consultant. “Online curbs have no place in a democratic society.”

From what I gather, it was one article at Malaysia Today that attracted comments which were deemed to be offensive, seditious … or whatever term Badawi’s MCMC uses nowadays.

As this will be a short post, just one question: ever heard of proportionality?

On a more positive note, I believe bloggers of Malaysia are working towards a self-regulatory regime (i.e. Code of Ethics for Malaysian Bloggers), though I don’t have much info on this. This seems a good idea and none too late as any self-respecting profession always does.

As the blog count go up in this country and everywhere else, we seek greater freedom to voice our concerns as a right. Yet, it is also our duty to speak up responsibly. Why else would bloggers tell truth to power?

Finally, the 2008 Memorandum on Media Freedom need your support.

Judging Politicians

In Malaysia on September 3, 2008 at 9:22 pm

(from the department-of-the-not-so-blind)

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
Erasmus – Dutch philosopher & scholar (1466 – 1536)

Although Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam is not popular today, during the Reformation he was known as ‘Prince of the Humanists’.

Nearly 500 years ago, Erasmus knew that ideas and deep-seated beliefs are more dangerous, and harmful, than the individuals behind such misleading ideas. Similiarly, Prime Ministers of Malaysia may come and go – whether it was Mahathir, is Badawi, and might be Anwar – their practises and ideas last longer than their administration. And if they are wrong, the damage to Malaysia is that much greater.

Read the rest of this entry »

Raja Petra’s lot – see Messrs Brown and Lee’s new media

In Blogging, Malaysia on September 2, 2008 at 11:02 pm

So much happened over our 51st Independence celebration weekend, from the racist remark in Penang, to MCMC taking on Google by banning Malaysia Today (and another 126 sites), to Badawi’s cries for unity (IHT).

To MCMC and Raja Petra’s friends and supporters:

If we were not dismissive of Singapore, we could learn how culturally similiar societies deal with their civil society issues, as they too face restrictions on free speech but they get smart and learn faster. If ony Khairy, Badawi and friends try to do the same.

A succint and intelligent post of Mr Brown about our kin/friends/neighbours down south, instead of that lazy, populist and humdrum Khairy Jamaluddin.

Wished I had it that easy at Oxford.

Blogs and Commenting – Valuing Free Speech in Malaysia

In Blogging, Online on August 30, 2008 at 10:06 am

Funny thing, receiving comments on the blog. I look forward to feedback, but when I get some, I’m disappointed.

The blogosphere is a community of individuals voicing their opinion via the web. We all want to be heard because we care about whatever we blog about, some care about it more, some less. We believe we can make a difference because of the interaction from the community of bloggers and readers, which, compared with traditional publishing is extremely cheap. Hence, when readers respond, the only issue is, have they read the post. Because, if they haven’t, why comment on it?

Which brings me to a comment I received on my last post, ‘Taking sides‘.

It started off with the following declaration: “Freedom of speech Is not freedom to be heard.” Then it rambled on with demands after demands with some questions thrown in for good measure and finally damning the guy I’ve been blogging about.

You know what? Stop.

First, not everyone is sufficiently inspired to blog and that’s fine. But if you believe you have a right to be heard, then you do it, as I do. To start off your comment with ” … not freedom to be heard (sic)”, what do you think I’d do? So, please think clearly, then put your thoughts into words in relation to the post. If you do not care enough to put in the effort to make your point, then I certainly would not bother to read your comment.

Read the rest of this entry »