The recent report by Freedom House that online freedom in Malaysia worsened in nearly all categories should not come as a surprise to anyone locally.
According to the “Freedom on the Net 2016” report, Malaysia rose two points on its Internet Freedom Index since 2015, the current score of 45 indicating a “Partly Free” environment with continued and growing restrictions on local users.
“For the first time, the government reneged on pledges never to censor the internet…” the watchdog group that advocates freedom and democracy said, adding that this score puts Malaysia among those with the most marked increases of government restrictions.
“During this coverage period, the government implemented political censorship for the first time, and blocked access to popular websites and blogs, including Sarawak Report, Malaysia Chronicle, and The Malaysian Insider among others, for publishing ‘unverified contents’ which could ‘create unrest’.” It said that this was plainly an overt violation of the government’s previous guarantee not to filter content online.
This little nugget of information is one of the clues as to why the fairly popular peaceful protest Bersih will take place again this coming Saturday – the fifth time the rally has been held in almost a decade.
In addition to the original and still-relevant demand for “Free and Fair Elections”, three related demands – “A Clean Government”, “The Right to Dissent”, and “Strengthening the Parliamentary Democracy” – have been added, along with “Empowering Sabah and Sarawak” and “For a New Malaysia”.
As can be observed, the mainstream government is rather rattled by the fact that the movement still is strong, despite the rise of outright bullying and unceasing intimidation by obviously sycophantic thugs and cybertroopers. Particularly, there has recently been widespread resharing of photos from Bersih 3.0 that purport to prove that the protesters were uncivilised and violent.
These efforts to get the Yellow Brigade to back off in cowardly fashion, however, look doomed to fail – because yet again, they fail to take into consideration the level of anger that many Malaysians are feeling. And there are plenty of really good reasons for that anger, which is hotter than any sambal made locally.
The people are angry at being taken for granted by the authorities, who talk a good game, but rarely follow through, preferring to renege on whatever deals they make in order to make an immediate personal profit.
They are angry at being told not to question, complain, nor demand justice when things go wrong – particularly when it happens to be the direct fault of the authorities in question, be they the government, the civil service, the police, etc.
They are angry that whistleblowers who want to disseminate the truth are punished ignominiously, whilst those who are caught and clearly guilty are merely quietly transferred out of the public eye without any recourse taken for their wrongdoings.
This was proven by the recent transfer – instead of suspension – of pedophile teachers to other schools.
Above all, people are angry because their right to unbiased education, to unrestricted freedom to practice (or not practice) their religion of choice, and their right to just be left unmolested and allowed to live a normal life is being restricted by the very people who claim to be acting in their interests.
Well, 2020 is coming soon enough – and even 2050 is not far enough away to deflect the anger that is boiling over now.
Malaysia’s leaders made the mistake of allowing tear gas and chemical sprays to be used on the public during the first three Bersih sessions.
Even though it wasn’t repeated for Bersih 4.0, the authorities still seem to take the rakyat for granted. In fact, it is hilariously clear that the government itself is upset and frustrated when Malaysians use their strongest weapon in showing their displeasure: sarcastic jokes. It’s enough to put their noses out of joint…
Source : The Heat Malaysia Online