Part of the Do'a Iftitah

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Malaysian Bloggers aren't totally anti-establishment

Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.

I wish to state to the Malaysian Government authorities that not all Malaysian Bloggers especially those of us who disclose our true identities upfront and write responsibly are anti-establishment.

Speaking for myself as a Malaysian blogging citizen and a registered Malaysian voter, I am all for good government and accountability by those who have been elected to rule over us.

I am also of the opinion that those who have chosen to write blogs and websites exercise responsible monitoring of what they share or allow to be in their sites.

Bloggers in my opinion are their own media publishing entities who have access to sharing whatever news or views to the online public and worldwide readers about all that they choose to publish.

As such, can we Bloggers delude ourselves that we are free to write as we please without taking responsibility over our deeds?

I say that is totally illogical and irresponsible of anyone in Blogosphere to think so.

Many fear repercussions from the Malaysian authorities such as what happened to Nathaniel Tan and also Malaysia-Today webmaster Raja Petra Kamarudin who was summoned to the Dang Wangi District Police Headquarters to give his statements regarding the postings and comments in his site.

I can understand the fear of being spirited away by the agencies of the Malaysian authorities whose very job functions are to follow direct orders from the Internal Security and Home Affairs Ministry or any other relevant powers without question and just execute those orders to the letter.

As the Malay saying goes, "Kalau takut dilambung ombak; jangan berumah ditepian pantai" which means' If you fear being washed away by the waves ; do not build your homes by the seashore!'

Blogging is not just an idle thing to do IF one touches on social, politics or religious issues.

This is an undertaking that merits accountability and legally binding responsibility when we write about such matters.

You can say that there exist 'occupational risks' when one comments on matters that involve matters such as what social-political and religious matters which are sensitive in nature and have repercussions against any one person or grouping which publishes articles, comments or reports touching on the affairs of others, private or official.

So, the matter at hand today concerns the matter of facing up to the liability of Bloggers who are in practice individual publishers of media content to the online public and worldwide readers and audience.

Yesterday, at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, concerned Bloggers asked Sivarasa Rasiah, a lawyer about the liabilities, rights and responsibilities that is incumbent upon them as Bloggers and website owners.

The Malaysian Government, being the authority elected to run the affairs of this land naturally would feel threatened by the emergence of Bloggers as a free media devoid of their control especially when the internet is a free agent of communication that will be almost impossible to censor or exercise control without coming to affect the reputation and financial dealings of this country IF the authorities decide to clampdown on the internet access of the ones who blog anonymously or even those amongst us who identify ourselves straightforward to the world.

No one likes to be criticized day in day out without resorting to retaliate by whatever means one has at one's disposal or by way of authority.

So, the onus goes back to us Bloggers. What do we really want to achieve?

If we want a better government and a responsible government, aren't there better ways to go about achieving it?

When cyber snipers start taking potshots at those in authority without being willing to expose their true identities, even if they publish facts and proofs of any government official's wrongdoing, their exposes fail to hold water because they did all those exposes whilst hiding under a pseudonym or anonymity.

Such an expose thus lacks credibility because of the legal aspect of being just another 'poison pen letter' where the publisher hides behind a veil of mystery.

This in turn ricochets against the very person him or herself by way of not giving credence to the accusations or charges against the corrupt ones who abuse their power.

The way that the legal system operates in this world, one can't expect to achieve the desired results when exposing any crime or wrongdoing when one chooses to shoot at the intended target from the dark.

Even when people lodge reports officially and dare to be upfront in exercising their rights as citizens of a democratic country, officialdom and bureaucracy tends to bury all such reports in the sea of redtape and purposeful manipulation of how things are run in any justice system here that Mankind come up themselves and put aside the Supreme Constitution of Almighty Allah.

Lack of accountability or willpower to uphold God's True Laws and Constitution to all Mankind in the true sense of it.

Its easy to say this and that but without credibility and accountability of what one publishes in one's blogs or websites renders all the proof and exposes that one makes against the authorities be dismissed off as irrelevant by those who do not hold true to the trust and commandments of Almighty Allah, Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala.

What I would like to say to the authorities reading this , is simply to look at Bloggers from a positive angle except those who hide under a pseudonym or anonymity.

The Malaysian Government can benefit from getting precious and sincere feedback from the Citizens of Malaysia who choose to be Bloggers by checking up on the info that is being published and see if it is true?

If the info is not true and proven to be a fabrication by the particular Blogger or Website publisher, then by all means they ought to be taken to task and if found guilty, be dealt with in the manner of what the law prescribes according to the matter.

We also need to see that justice is upheld and taken against those who are reported to have committed crimes whilst holding office and when proven to be true, be dealt with according to the Laws of this nation.

We can't escape being held to account before Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala in the Akhirat.

We will face Him with our Book of Deeds, where not a jot , not an iota of our doings will be missed by the Recorders of our Deeds, the two Malaikats ascribed to each and everyone of us, no matter who we are, here on Earth?

Surely as Mukmins, we all know that Malaikat Raqib on our right records each and every good deed, thought or wish that we do or plan in our minds.

Malaikat 'Atid on our left records each sin that we do after 6 hours pass without our repentance of committing whatever sin that we did.

Those who are learned in the 'Ilm of Islam know that this is true. We are under constant monitoring of the Malaikats of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala and Allah SWT Himself, 24/7.

Sometimes I think of all those who spy on others without realizing that they themselves are being under surveillance, for as long as they live.

All that I am asking here is for our rulers to be wise, rational and realistic about the Blogging phenomena.

It is all up to them as to how to look at things. If they choose to look at it positively, they are today being offered so much unbiased information to choose from and gather as their intelligence as to what the grassroots are saying, free from editing or manipulation by those with vested interests in misleading the very top authorities.

If they decide otherwise, well, what good is that going to do for the spirit of freedom that we hear every now and then but actually do not get to put to practice within the legal framework and rights of a voting citizen of the Kingdom of Malaysia?

I am not saying that people can be let loose and do as they please. Accountability. It works both ways.

The present government ought to deliver on its Election promises as stated on its manifesto to us , Malaysia's citizens. We all know that this is yet to be delivered in full yet the next GE is looming around the corner.

Both the government and the citizens ought to come to a mutual understanding between us and each party conduct themselves as responsibly and honorably as enjoined upon us by Allah!

A citizen is wrong before Allah SWT if he or she does not obey a just and rightful leader.

Likewise , any leader is held accountable and will be taken to task by Our Creator if the leader is unjust and victimizes his or her subjects. It's the truth, isn't it?

Instead of creating an atmosphere and climate of fear, I call upon the Malaysian authorities to engage with the Bloggers of Malaysia in a win win manner and hold a general series of seminars or forums where responsible Bloggers are accorded their true rights and freedom of dialogue with the authorities instead of just going on a 'witch hunt' against any Blogger picked at random and victimized for the crimes of the spineless cyber snipers out there in the Malaysian Blogosphere or elsewhere.

I know that most of us Bloggers won't object if action is taken against those who are really guilty in creating the current dilemma of Bloggers being ruled as 'liars and troublemakers in general' by the government when they have nothing to do with the cyber snipers.

Yesterday, most of us at Nat's forum agreed that Bloggers must moderate their blogs and censor out unfounded allegations or insensitive comments which can harm the delicate and fragile balance of our multi ethnic and multi faithed nation of mostly peace loving Malaysians.

If the Malaysian Government can stay calm and collected over this matter by taking appropriate actions to engage in constructive dialogues and discuss with us Bloggers in a manner befitting our status as a democratic country that is also a dynamic developing leading nation in South East Asia and the world, I am sure that the whole nation can gain much from this proposal to have dialogues instead of allowing dissent to grow and spread amongst the people by this clampdown being urged by those who are just being overly emotional and not looking at the root cause for all this anti this and anti that online warfare going on.

We can then come to an amicable solution to remove and reduce the prevailing unhealthy atmosphere and feelings of distrust brewing between the citizens and the authorities.

I would like to round up this rather lengthy post by stating that as a Malaysian Muslim Blogger, I am all for a mutual understanding between Bloggers and the Government of Malaysia.

Wabillahi Taufeek Wal Hidayah. Wassalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Ta'ala Wabarakatuh.

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