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Asiaweek: A Crackdown on Dissent
By Arjuna Ranawana
17/3/2001 10:04 pm Sat
[Dengan memberkas komputer Raja Petra FAC, jaminan betapa
internet tidak akan ditambat tidak boleh dipercayai lagi. Ini
akan menyukarkan kerajaan menjayakan cita-cita MSC kerana
adalah sukar untuk bergerak jika diikat kaki. Sepatutnya
kerajaan mengikat kaki yang mencuri dana di siang hari barulah
selesai semua masalah masa kini. Banyak negara boleh maju dan
makmur dengan kebebasan maklumat melalui teknologi mengapa
kerajaan BN begitu takut sehingga asyik memantau dan mencari?
Musuh sebenar negara sedang bermaharajalela dan dengan menangkap
pengendali (laman web) ia tidak akan menghentikan apa-apa. Sebaliknya
kerajaan akan lebih cepat binasa kerana kebenaran akan terpancar
dengan terlebih segera. Bukankah itu yang telah berlaku kepada Galileo?
'You can kill the revolutionary but you can't kill the revolution'
Thursday, March 15, 2001
A Crackdown on Dissent:
[The Malaysian government targets Web critics
By ARJUNA RANAWANA
"It looks like a serious clampdown is taking place," says Raja Petra
Kamaruddin, who runs an opposition website. Faced with almost suffocating
state control of the mainstream media, dissenters have found a voice on the
Internet - particularly since the 1998 arrest of former deputy prime minister
Anwar Ibrahim. Hundreds of opposition websites, ranging from those
belonging to official political parties to rabidly anti-government operations,
draw millions of hits everyday.
The recent crackdown appears to have started after the country's united
opposition began plans in March to organize street protests against the
government's alleged use of state pension funds and the employment
provident fund to prop up politically favored companies.
One of the sites under attack is that of the Free Anwar Campaign, run by
one the former deputy leader's closest followers, Raja Petra . He has twice
been interviewed by police in the past week, "as a witness in a sedition
case," he told Asiaweek.
"They want to see whether we encourage demonstrations to take place."
Raja Petra cannot function as a webmaster anymore. Police removed
computers and other equipment from his home March 7. The website
continues to be updated by "our supporters located overseas," he says.
Like many opposition sites, The Free Anwar Campaign's server is outside
Updates on stridently anti-government sites, such as Mahazalim -
translation: "The Ultimately Cruel One" - which targets Prime Minister
Mahathir Mohamad, have become less regular in recent days. Says Raja
Petra: "Their webmasters seem to have gone underground."
Malaysiakini (Malaysia Now), the country's only independent Internet
newspaper, has been under attack for several weeks by
governing-party-run newspapers over its source of funds. Its reporters are
also barred from government events. An attempt by its editor and chief
executive to meet government officials to ease the situation doesn't seem to
have borne fruit.
After Malaysiakini disputed the death toll in a recent clash between ethnic
Indians and Malays in a Kuala Lumpur shantytown, police said they would
ask the paper to explain how it got higher figures than those officially
released. It could possibly face charges of sedition.
These moves have caused concern to Harakahdaily, the hugely popular
online version of the main opposition Islamic Party's newspaper, Harakah.
"They [the government] can use all types of things against us," says Zulkifli
Sulong, editor of both the online and print versions.
In a recent hearing of the country's Human Rights Commission, a police
officer testified that a young woman protestor had admitted to him she had
been "influenced" by the online Harakah to attend a demo. That statement
possibly bodes ill for Harakah.
The government last weekend charged a leading opposition figure, Ezam
Mohamad Nor, with sedition for allegedly saying he wanted to organize
protests against the government. Demonstrations are illegal in Malaysia.
Zulkifli says his paper does not encourage demos, "although we report
them when they take place." For a government that feels increasingly under
siege, that distinction may no longer be visible.