The war on bloggers (round 2) is definitely on. Earlier in January, two other prominent bloggers Rocky Bru and Jeff Ooi, were sued by the government owned News Straits Times for defamation.

The attack on blogger Nathaniel Tan is an attack on all bloggers. The MESSAGE here is clear, folks, BE CAREFUL. BE VERY VERY CAREFUL. SLANDER here means CRITICISMS (if they so choose it). TARNISHING the image of the country means, your criticial blog post, and all the ensuing comments on your blogs. (SEE NEWS STORY BELOW).

Freedom of speech comes with a price. Are you prepared to pay for it? This is the time to decide.

Yesterday, the government launched its war against bloggers and writers on the Internet.

According to TheSTAR, in Jitra, Kedah (northern state of Malaysia) today, Deputy Internal Security Minister Johari Baharom wants the police to investigate and trace writers spreading lies through websites. He said he had instructed the Commercial Crimes Department to bring the culprits to book.

NATHANIEL TAN IS THE FIRST VICTIM! (he is remanded 4 days based on the above section of the killer OSA).

Now, all kinds of slander about the nation’s leaders are being spread through the Internet. The police must act to prevent them from tarnishing the image of the country,” he told reporters after the opening of the delegates meetings of the Wanita, Youth and Puteri wings of Kubang Pasu Umno here yesterday.

So, bloggers, WATCH OUT! YOU MAY BE NEXT!

On Wednesday, Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail ordered the Anti-Corruption Agency to close investigations into the bribery allegations against Johari as there was no evidence to link him to accusations that he had received RM5mil to release several suspected criminals held under the Emergency Ordinance. The investigations were initiated after the allegations against him were posted on an anonymous website.

NAT is under probe for four days under section 8 of the DRACONIAN OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT (chart on top from Malaysiakini) for a comment left in his blog, Jelas.info, which referred to the anonymous website alleging Johari’s involvement in receiving the bribe.

I REPEAT…

An attack on Nat is an attack on all bloggers. The MESSAGE here is clear, folks, BE CAREFUL. BE VERY VERY CAREFUL. SLANDER here means CRITICISMS (if they so choose it). TARNISHING the image of the country means, your criticial blog post, and all the ensuing comments on your blogs. Freedom of speech comes with a price. Are you prepared to pay for it? This is the time to decide.

Me? It’s business as usual-lah…

56 responses »

  1. wits0 says:

    “The police must act to prevent them from tarnishing the image of the country,” he told reporters ..”

    The amount of entrenched euphemism boggles the mind! The above seems to be a mind control advocacy.

  2. eng says:

    If that’s the case, then I would have through Raja Petra would be the first ? as he has more supporters and he writes those allegations rather than ppl posting it as comments.
    Unless for any reason Nat is an easier target compared to him, to test the water

  3. luclai says:

    whoa! scary thought eh. is my blog on the radar too? i criticise UMNO a lot!! someone told me that the SB sure have a file on all of us socio-political bloggers.
    luckily i’m not famous or popular, so not to worry too much.

    anyway i will heed your advise, susan. tread carefully.

  4. wits0 says:

    Test the water? By all appearance.

  5. freelogic says:

    But Susan, you just help these asso spread the words to frightened us, at least I am now.

  6. freelogic says:

    I’m really scared. I even posted these comment using an anonymous IP address!

  7. elizabethwong says:

    Candlelight Vigil for Nat Tan

    Date: 15 July 2007 (Sunday)
    Time: 8 pm
    Venue: Outside IPD Dang Wangi, Jalan Stadium

  8. hasilox says:

    So, are we gonna be The People’s Republic of Malaysia…or…Malayamar

  9. hawk says:

    Susan Loone,

    If u r in Bangkok, I suggest u keep yrself there ler.

    They may be waiting for u here, and if u disappear, we may not even know if u ever did return. Remember, immigration records can be deleted!!

  10. TigerChan says:

    Hi ! Everyone, bloggers & fans alike.

    Perhaps the nickname “TigerChan” may sound scary …but I don’t write much. So the Bukit Aman wolves might as well ignore me. Well, for those who know, I am quite fiery in speeches …

    I am a Malaysian Chinese Muslim. Just want to say …those UMNO leaders can go to hell!!!!

    Cheers !

  11. anonymous says:

    If u r in Bangkok, I suggest u keep yrself there ler– They may hire some Patani or Yala jihadist nut to make it look like one of the thousands of murders which had already occured there

  12. anonymous says:

    What People’s Republic of Malayamar? It will be called the Grand Islamic Caliphate of Malaysia DarulHadhari under its first “I dont hnow” imam from kepalabatas

  13. I am not Najib says:

    sick fking country…

  14. Raja says:

    I suppose the general fault we all share as Malaysians to some degree is first the apathy and the indifference and later when stirred into responding, the cynicism it gives rise to. Neither does any justice to us and to the cause. Certainly not to those who spend their leisure hours after work or their entire lives fighting for the freedom of all Malaysians irrespective of their political affiliations, race and religion – hoping to make a difference.

    Bloggers turn to the internet, the alternative and popular media to express their opinions. But freedom of expression is subject to the rule of law. Once you you abuse your freedom through libel and slander you come face to face with the law and there are consequences. How else could those libeled and slandered who are made subjects of popular ridicule respond to the allegations made on the internet, a popular media today.

    The fact that a person at the end of such allegations, left holding the ball and without the ability to kick it in any direction, is a career politician who holds office in the country’s highest executive committee should not confuse the need for a rule of law.

    Bloggers who want to blog to make a difference has an unfettered right to do so. But let us not confuse the freedom to blog and express ourselves with the freedom to slander, defame and libel others. The former does not confer us the right to do the latter. The latter is a crime and carries consequences to the individual who chooses to ignore the boundaries of their newly found freedom.

    What is wrong in Nathanie’s detention however is that the party who sees himself as the victim of a crime uses the government machinery he has control over and the tools he has in the form of repressive legislation as an instrument to subject ordinary Malaysians to terror.

    It is not only about Nathaniel. The police we forget is an instrument of terror when used in this manner, when the process is less than transparent and when recourse to the law is limited for the individual. Recourse to the law is limited because the process is not transparent and when one compares the might of the government’s law enforcement agencies to the individual and the resources available to him or her, the gap is glaring. Very often this so-called gap is enough to make the difference between justice and injustice.

    To would be Nathaniels out there my advice is to not confuse when freedom of expression starts and when the rule of law begins and takes over – especially when one merges rather than crashes on to the other and there are no clear boundaries to help us see the difference.

  15. I am not Najib says:

    AUCTHUNG HAI HILTER JEWHARI

  16. wits0 says:

    “But freedom of expression is subject to the rule of law. Once you you abuse your freedom through libel and slander you come face to face with the law and there are consequences. ”

    While this may be true, especially within the outer envelope, but when one look more closely into the predisposedly opaque process and inner hidden manner of execution, problem arises. Such a problem originates easily from the powerful instituition, not just private individuals. Also, when any law is faulty, oppressive and open to abuse and manipulation, the powerless individuals are the ones first to be disadvantaged. The perception of the public matters. Why speak about nation’s image etc., for the ministers, when this is just largely a feel-good presumption?

  17. kittykat46 says:

    “But freedom of expression is subject to the rule of law. Once you you abuse your freedom through libel and slander you come face to face with the law and there are consequences. ”
    I have no problem with that as a general statement of legal responsibility.

    But I can speak as a regular reader of Nat Tan’s blog, he has definitely not engaged in casual libel or slander, certainly not against the Deputy Minister who is flexing his muscles here.

    The allegations were made by an anonymous blogger who is well hidden behind layers of IT anonymity. I gather the police are thus far incapable of tracing who he is.

    They chose instead to arrest a “soft” target – a named blogger, who has criticised government policies and actions but not in any way which I would construe as illegal.

  18. Raja says:

    “The allegations were made by an anonymous blogger who is well hidden behind layers of IT anonymity.” kat46

    Would you like to cut and paste that posting here for us? Thank you.

  19. Raja says:

    No one is above the law – neither the blogger nor his ‘victim’.

    The only issue is whether the rule of law has been observed in the case of Nathaniel Tan.

    That brings us face to face with the concept of separation of powers in a democracy like Malaysia. How independent is our judiciary?

    The excesses of the executive can only be checked through a judiciary that is independent – and I’m afraid the country’s judiciary is a joke!

  20. Raja says:

    If Nathaniel is not released after the remand period allowed, his counsel should file for the writ of habeas corpus immediately. He has to be released if not charged unless of course he is detained under the Internal Security Act.

    The Minister of Internal Security may decide to do some mental gymnastics and decide for himself that there is a security threat here. They have done that before.

  21. Raja says:

    Under the ISA there can be no judicial review of the Minister’s decision. So good luck to Nathaniel Tan!

  22. wits0 says:

    I’ve come across that anon site B4 with that allegation and the but never thought of bookmarking it. The thought that came to mind was, “Wow!” It does seem most likely that only an institutional insider could have privy to the alleged details.

    Nan, as KK46 said, is just a convenient soft target, especially after the Dinner for 3 fake photoshopped picture. Multi-purpose choice.

  23. wits0 says:

    Aha, it’s still around, the allegation:
    http://www.freewebs.com/southeast-wind/

  24. pope says:

    stupid moron government! who is really tarnishing the image of government in the eyes of the world?
    nat or the government itself for making arrest on someone who blog? i wonder whether we try to outdo china in limiting freedom of espression. we might as well upgrade us as communist country. we getting backward. this year is curse!

  25. OA says:

    .

    “But freedom of expression is subject to the rule of law. Once you you abuse your freedom through libel and slander you come face to face with the law and there are consequences. ”

    ———————

    Freedom of expression is not subjected to law. If expression is deemed to be offensive you have the right to sue but to be kept under house arrest that’s not fair law that’s autocratic.

    The deputy minister in his action is doing all he could to save his asses since he was deem to be “clean” by the useless crooks AG himself.

    Crooks will do anything by all means that’s a fact.

    .

  26. Siew Eng says:

    here’s an idea for all blogs: how about duplicating that posting? on all blogs.

    this is what a bloggers united entity should be doing. this will really be the test of how far bloggers are ready to stand behind one of their own and stand up for free expression on the Internet.

    just imagine, if all of us can do the exact same thing Nat did. it’ll require uncommon bravery from us, knowing now what has happened to Nat because of what he did can happen to us. but remember the chinese proverb about one arrow being easily broken, but not when a bunch are put together. what can the authorities do – arrest all hundreds of us?

    if even one hesitates, more will follow. and then we can never win.

    there are alternatives, i’m told. a techie should be able to sprout a thousand blogspot sites. unfortunately, i can’t explain how, being a tech-dummy.

    up for it?

  27. Siew Eng says:

    And Suz – I love your killer kitty.

  28. Siew Eng says:

    Scratch that suggestion of mine:

    OSA 1972
    Section 14. Attempts, incitements, etc.

    If any person-
    a) attempts to commit an offence under this Act;
    b) solicits or incites or endeavours to persuade or conspires with another person to commit an offence under this Act;
    c) aids, or abets or does any act preparatory to the commission of an offence under this act,

    he (so sexist) shall be liable to the same punishments, and to be proceeded against in the same manner, as if he had committed the offence.

    Dum-dum-dummmmmm.

  29. Raja says:

    Siew Eng,

    What is the ‘offense’ under the Act”

  30. Raja says:

    “If expression is deemed to be offensive you have the right to sue but to be kept under house arrest that’s not fair law that’s autocratic.” OA

    No, if an expression is found offensive, you switch your TV channel, or stop reading it. You do not sue for that and if you do your action will be struck for being frivolous – and you end up paying court costs and perhaps his solicitors costs as well. You don’t want that!

  31. elizabethwong says:

    “If Nathaniel is not released after the remand period allowed, his counsel should file for the writ of habeas corpus immediately.”

    You don’t file a HB for remand. You file for revision. The judge will first have a good laugh then kick us out of chambers.

  32. KTemoc says:

    It’s coincidentally strange that Nat was taken in by Johari’s men when he (Nat) supposedly has info on website blah blah on the alleged corruption of the latter.

    And we learnt from RPK (still whistling ‘come get me la de la’ with his pipe lit) that Johari’s name was blackened by the police and ‘friends’, those enterprising entrepreuners in the south.

    So, putting two and two together, I get 39.76 and believe Nat has been the victim of two gajahs berlawan (couldn’t bring myself to describe Nat as a pelanduk – may be tempting for tigers out there).

    I don’t buy the suggestion Nat has been detained because he’s an easier target than Tian – if they want Tian, they woudl have taken him in without so much as a by your leave – hell, they took Anwar in when they wanted, didn’t they?

    Maybe Johari is conducting a bit of cleaning up of all debris of the alleged corruption setup, or showing his constituency by doing so he’s in charge after the fairly damaging allegations.

    I see in Nat’s detention the considerations of general election, intra party joustling, nose thumbing at ‘nemesis’, grandstanding for effect in own constituency, rather than silencing the blogosphere, ’cause RPK is still whacking away when one would have thought he’d be the first target.

  33. saulsse says:

    Well being in the United States, my view is that the Malaysa govenment can rant and rave all they want about what we say about them.

    It just reenforces the perception that the government of Malaysa is made up from a lot of dorks with no humor.

  34. ghenjis khan says:

    if one were to read RPK’s Malaysia Today, there is a copy of a Sworn Affadavit {Surat Akuan] by a serving Police Officer , does that constitutes an Official Secret ?

    in the 1950s we don’t seem to have this kinds of stories ….. some remnants of the British Empire Government Officers were still around running the show .

    And shady trees still lined up on both sides of the roads , as did Napolean Bonaparte did for some French towns.

  35. bamboo river says:

    Guys, they are watching what you comment !
    Bloggers are now a BIG threat to them. Bloggers are able to affect the election outcome.
    Spamming is just a diversion to keep blog owners busy.
    Please be careful on all incoming comments or unsolicited attachments.
    Since they can’t get bloggers thru the front door, they are breaking the back door now.
    Is this comment considered slander?

  36. shawal says:

    Fight For Your Right….

  37. silverwolf says:

    What do you expect from a bunch of racist Jew-haters that would have a pig like Mahathir as head of state? Boycott Malaysia and short its currency.

  38. oA says:

    .

    Raja said …….you do not sue for that ………

    ——

    Thats exactly the reason why OSA should be abolished. A stamp for “crooks” to freedom not in free speech but free indulgence in greed, corruption, power of abuse etc.

    Your insinuation are scarey,
    Your bias ideas are askewed badly ….

    HOW UNFORTUNATE …

    .

  39. whispering9 says:

    Hahaha bamboo, I didn’t know you are so outspoken. Malaysia’s psy-opp is one of the best in the world. They have been watching since day 1. Having a few nicks with different IPs will help but your brave friend MB will call that a cowardice act. Thus, you still have my admiration. But, honestly, we don’t have to slander and hurl insults to make a point. Unless it is an occupational hazard we don’t have to go to jail to prove a point. I don’t think nat will be kept too long under remand because they don’t usually keep an innocent like nat behind bars. It is not in the psyopp manual. Learnt all this from watching Babylon 9. Must keep our cool about such thing. cheer. Have a kopi kau on me. Pay you later…if we meet.

  40. Raja says:

    “Thats exactly the reason why OSA should be abolished.” OA

    Wishful thinking! It’s not gonna happen unless you change the party running the government. This can only happen at the polls.

  41. kittykat46 says:

    No government ever voluntarily gave up power it already has.

    That’s true all over the world, even with supposedly liberal democracies. Certainly true in Malaysia.
    That’s why long after the Communists have disbanded, the whole panoply of the Internal Security state is still fully in force – ISA, OSA, Emergency Ordinance, Sedition Act.

    There’s a power play going on between the Jojoba guy and the Musang. The guy they really need to question is untraceable, so they go after Nat Tan.

    Scary to see how the Jojoba guy can “Order” a guy to be arrested and remanded. When Anwar Ibrahim appeared with the infamous “black-eye” I thought – if they can do it to him, what protection is there to you and me ? Unfortunately the answer is “None”.
    I hope Nat Tan doesn’t appear with a black eye on Tuesday.

  42. whispering9 says:

    Nat is really not well known outside the small circle of friends. If not for the information associated with Nat poster, many will go ‘Ehh…who is Nat?’ That is why many are reluctant to comment on his arrest, unlike JO and Rocky case. So why was Nat the chosen one? Another prominent blogger would have been a more exemplary arrest. I guess he is an innocent associated with DSAI. Nat can be remanded and released soon after without much fuss or repercussions. There will be little political fallout unlike freeing a well known political figure or activist. They probably wanted to test the water and serve a warning to the others, perhaps even a false flag tactic. DSAI arrest was another story and the black eye was probably DSAI own initiative psyop. Nat will come out okay unless he wants to imitate his boss. Our government is still decent in many aspects. Beside, we are the ones that decide the type of government we get.

  43. kittykat46 says:

    “Our government is still decent in many aspects.”

    Cherio chappie, been nice having you as a guest for the last 4 days. No hard feelings, eh. Nothing against you, just doing our jobs. We’re nice guys, really. Hope you liked the roti canai. See ya later !

  44. bamboo river says:

    Whispering9, hey, what to do next? You might be right. Nat will be released with of course a few conditions. They are now putting so called ‘firewall’ on bloggers especially political bloggers.
    They realised bloggers and internet are the most powerful tool in forming or destroying ……….

    Look around you, roads resurfaced,places cleared of rubbish, new sign boards coming up,police patrols very frequent. What’s coming up?
    Your guess is as good as mine!
    So, Nat is also another diversion I am afraid. So bloggers can concentrate on Free Nat Campaign while the plan B is carried out by team B. Don’t you think so?
    To all my respected bloggers….please becareful.
    It is a shrewd tactic.

    Another possible reason which I had thought it over the whole night…..
    The outcome of Altantuya’s murder case is coming to its climax.
    Just to throw the bloggers’ attention off . You know very well the case is being followed closely like Supa Glue by bloggers.
    What is going on in the court was not actually reported in full by the press. Guess what again?
    Blogs!
    Moreover it was hotly debated in blogs and MT.

    Note here…….Blogs had been ‘Locked’ as target.
    Waiting for the higher up to decide which to be expunge.

    Now back to my kopi kau ais……
    on whispering9’s account in the tiga lima book of my regular mamak stall…
    Nat is a Hard Nut to Crack!
    ***********FREEDOM for NAT! *************

  45. antibn says:

    BN is at it again!!

    So called leaders!!

  46. antibn says:

    We must take away the power given to them.

    These are all the power we gave them.

    We are the people.

    Remember these ppl are going to beg us for votes……very soon.

    They gonna promise everything under the sun for us.Dont be deceived!!

    Show your POWER.

    This is democracy!!

  47. kittykat46 says:

    Satu lagi Projek Barisan Nasional

  48. whispering9 says:

    Many may not like what I commented but let me rephrase it better. In some countries dissidents disappear into thin air without trace or care. Fighting for freedom in such countries is like fighting a war where you do not stop to cry for comrades who disappear or get kill in the process. Martyrdom is part of the struggle. In country like M, you still know the whereabouts of the loved one who is arrested and there are many decent Malaysians within the government who will not behave otherwise. The best course of action would be to maintain some sense of order and do what most has been doing like holding Candlelight Vigil for Nat Tan. If we think there is no more decency left in this country then there is also no time or space to worry about your comrades because the shows must go on. Like I commented, the arrest could be false flag tactics least you forget what are your goals.

    On a different note, I have been thinking a lot about what susan said ‘hers is a journey’. Surprisingly, I have fond much comfort in that statement and also the opportunity to be selfish and enjoy some decent living in Malaysia. I used to put ends before means. Simply put, if we consider our struggle to be in our short active lifetime of 40 odd years, we probably become very disappointed, disheartened and grumpy. But if it is part of a journey, we can still enjoy Malaysia as she progresses towards a brighter tomorrow in a century or so. There will always be another nat in the future and using moderating voices works for Malaysians and the government. kk46, thanks for the roti canai. Call out if you want to invite me for another roti.

  49. kittykat46 says:

    Hi whispering9,
    I do understand what you are getting at.
    In Chile and Argentina, there are many families still trying, after more than 20 years, to find out what happened to thousands of their loved ones who “disappeared” into the night.
    Most of the victims were probably killed and buried in mass graves, but the regimes destroyed all records of arrests and detentions before they handed over power to the civilian administration. So there is no trace whatsover of the people who disappeared – who, what , when, who’s responsible.

    Those were military dictatorships with no pretence whatsover of being a legitimate government.

    I pray we never go down that road, even a little bit of the way…

    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

  50. hawk says:

    Can bloggers power be the new name of the game……replacing ppls power?

    Anyone got any idea how bloggers can be empowered to steer nation building?

  51. whispering9 says:

    Dear kk46,

    So I can still join your gang for roti canai? Is your quote taken from Edmund Burke who was murdered by Hilter for opposing his rise to evil.

    ‘THe Only Thing Necessary For Evil To Flourish Is For Good Men To Do Nothing’.

    JO used this poem from Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984). Thought I cut and paste for others to read.

    When the Nazis came for the communists,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a communist.

    When they locked up the social democrats,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a social democrat.

    When they came for the trade unionists,
    I did not speak out;
    I was not a trade unionist.

    When they came for me,
    there was no one left to speak out.

    When the Nazis came for the communists,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a communist.

    When they locked up the social democrats,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a social democrat.

    When they came for the trade unionists,
    I did not speak out;
    I was not a trade unionist.

    When they came for me,
    there was no one left to speak out.
    When the Nazis came for the communists,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a communist.

    When they locked up the social democrats,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a social democrat.

    When they came for the trade unionists,
    I did not speak out;
    I was not a trade unionist.

    When they came for me,
    there was no one left to speak out.

  52. whispering9 says:

    Hahaha…sorry for the spamming…too many clicks to the cut and paste buttons.

  53. whispering9 says:

    So sorry lah…Edmund Burke was an Irish statement and didn’t get murdered by Hilter. Too many confusing box-set movies. Anyway that quote was used in ‘Hilter – The Rise of Evil’. I guessed Hollywood has sweetened the quote. Good grief.

  54. hawk says:

    If one finds it difficult to accept public scutiny, whereby now the public have more of such opportunity, by blogging, I suggest they avoid public office!!

    This access of the public is truly remarkable. For now , we need not queue up at MP s offices to vent our complaints etc. We are no longer contrained by time or space. All we need to do, is just to submit a posting.

    If there be any caring MPs who wish to service us, they can pick up our postings and then act on them. I think MPs should be shouting for joy that they can know the rakyat thru bloggig, isnt it?

  55. guinea says:

    feudalism?

  56. wits0 says:

    “Our government is still decent in many aspects.”

    It could have been better and could have refrained fro posturing in those inane manner of parroting the lines of “Don’t ape the West” (So, surreptitiously aping the Arabs have brought forth what instead?!)for the last 40 years or so. Paranoia uncalled for. Why compare with among the worse…like for instance, Ghana, why not S’pore instead?

    Its denizens knows better wrt what are the good values to borrow and deserves better than a governance that does not trust them but is pandering merely to the least progressive elements within for votes. It is these elements that the government wants to maintain as stuntedly limited in ideas at the expense of the more vibrant and progressive section of society.

    A government that panders thus can hardly be expected to be more than what it has become. Were it not for oil, this country would’ve dropped behind a long time ago. Might as well get ready to increasingly drop behind wrt this shrinking and competitive world.

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