Hornbill Unleashed

July 2, 2009

If you can’t beat them…

By Sim Kwang Yang

I received in my email the following excellent article by Bernice Low on the battle in the Internet world in Malaysia.  The object of her attention is the newly launched net portal the Malaysian Mirror, for which I write a weekly column.  Naturally, I feel the irony of  the situation, me – a die hard anti-BN man writing for Ong Tee Kiat the MCA President to further the cause of the BN, if her speculation and assumptions turn out to be true. We will see.

If you can’t beat them…

…join em. And that’s what the MCA (Malaysian Chinese Association) is going to do, it would seem.

According to a news report on the Malaysianinsider.com, the MCA is going into the online news game. A friend in the media line confirmed that hiring is ongoing for the Malaysian Mirror, the name that has been chosen for the new newsportal. A search on MYNIC shows that the domain name Malaysianmirror.com.my is available. A search on WHOIS, however, shows the top-level domain (TLD) name Malaysianmirror.com to be unavailable. It was recently purchased on March 3, 2009, and is registered to a Web domain hosting firm in (ironically) Penang.


April 5, 2009

SKY’s Open Letter to Alfred Jabu

by Sim Kwang Yang /  ( SKY )

Dear Datuk,

I address you as Datuk because you are older than I, and you still are a senior to me in politics.

I notice that you have made headlines recently by attacking Sarawak bloggers and labelling them as “specialist instigators”. I think you mean Joseph Tawie of The Broken Shield who has been revealing in his blog how you and James Masing have been at odds in recent years, and even during the height of the Batang Ai by-election campaign.

Out of my solidarity and fraternity with my fellow Sarawak bloggers, I feel compelled to write you this short note, to discuss a topic of our mutual concern — media freedom in Sarawak.

Media freedom

The truth of the matter is that there is very little freedom of expression in Sarawak, until the blogs arrives.

All the newspapers in Sarawak will never dream of publishing any news or views that is critical of the Sarawak government leaders. All the journalists and their editors are fearful of their publishing license being withdrawn if they do not toe the government line.

As a result, the newspapers and the radio stations have become like bulletin boards for the BN state government, parroting dream-like narratives of Politics of Development, while demonising anybody who has a dissenting voice.

Fourth Estate

May I remind you that the media is the Fourth Estate in any democratic polity, besides the legislature, the judiciary, and the administration? A free media is of utmost importance for Sarawak, to provide that check and balance to supervise institutions of state and to expose and prevent government excesses and corruption.

Any government in the world that limits or repress media freedom will inevitably be dictatorial, corrupt, and abusive in its exercise of power. We see lots of these dictatorships in Asia, South America, and Africa.

Wherever there is no freedom of expression, widespread corruption grows like a malignant cancer in the body politics, while the country remains backward, and the people remain poor.

This is also the case in Sarawak.

In the developed liberal democracies of the world in Western Europe and North America, the press is free to different extents. There, corruption is curtailed and controlled, the countries are rich, and the people enjoy a higher standard of living.

Sarawak’s fettered media

I can fully understand why you and your colleagues in Sarawak BN would want to keep the Sarawak press fettered and slavish. That way, you control the mind of Sarawakians, especially those in the rural areas, with your simpleton’s political narrative, and your non-issues.

Fortunately for Sarawakians, the Internet has arrived at our shores. We have a band of brave, inspired, and informed Sarawakian bloggers who dare to speak out against the ruling regime. As far as I can see, they have also been responsible bloggers, basing their arguments on facts and figures that may not be used by Sarawak’s mainstream media.

I am also a blogger now. Like many other Sarawak bloggers, I just want to pursue Truth and Justice for all Anak Sarawak.

We are human, and therefore, fallible. If we have made a mistake, we need others to correct us. Your bullying tactics of veiled threats and negative labelling touches me not, I am afraid.

While you enjoy limitless dominance and prominence in the Sarawak mainstream media, you would be just another Netizen if you care to visit us on our blogs. Here, I am prepared to debate with you intelligently. You have been invited.

Give Datuk titles to Sarawak bloggers?

Actually, you and your Sarawak BN government people should be thankful to the Sarawak bloggers. They are providing an invaluable service to the people of Sarawak, by carrying news and views that would otherwise never see the light of day.

They are offering this community service free of charge, in their own time, with no other agenda than to see the evolution of a Sarawak that could be both free and fair for all Anak Sarawak.

To you and your Sarawak BN friends, I must reiterate some basic simple principles about Sarawakians. They are human beings born with the natural gift of free thought. Freedom of thought demands the fundamental human right to free speech.

To curtail press freedom and control thought is to diminish their humanity. It is a moral crime. It ought to be a legal crime as well.

The Alternative Media has arrived on the Internet in Sarawak. It is a good omen of political progress in Sarawak in the 21st century. You or anybody else cannot stop the march of 21st century progress with your 20 century mentality and tired rhetoric.

Ageing thoughts and friendly suggestion

I am getting old and you even more so. This is the time to think about the end. In the end, we will all end up six feet underground. We will not be able to bring our titles and our wealth with us. God is the greatest equaliser of all!

Why don’t you retire and give the burden of office to younger men and women. Nobody is really indispensable to others in life.

Then you can devote full time to charity work, enjoy your immense wealth (unlike me), and rejoice in the company of your grandchildren (like Marlon Brando in the Godfather).

I wish you and your family well.

Your fellow Anak Sarawak,

Sim Kwang Yang


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