Atchafalaya Swamp

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Bakaq is freed; but systematic intimidation of the Rakyat remains

Case of Systematic Intimidation?

I WAS MORE THAN HAPPY to hear of Bakaq Penarik Beca's release when I received his SMS shortly past midnight on my ship here in the swampy dregs of East Kalimantan. He was detained for forty hours to be investigated under Malaysia's Sedition Act, primarily for defacing the police's crest in a posting in his blog; removing the "Muhammad" and " Allah" and replacing it with a "C4" and dollar sign respectively. The tiger element in the center of the crest too was replaced with a "howling dog" graphic. Some people might find it tasteless and I can understand how policemen would react with horror, but how would it would incite the Rakyat into hating the government is beyond me. I thought the Rakyat already hated the BN-led government? That's why BN was "trounced" in the last polls? Am I missing something here?

So ... Bakaq was only stating the obvious.

He has apologized, according to Bro Rocky for his "stupid mistake" in the "cut-and-paste" graphic but stands by the story in the posting. In his SMS to me, he laments that police had confiscated his PC and modem. And why the modem I couldn't fathom --unless it's another form of intimidation? Hey Polis, why throw out the baby out with the bath water? Sounds baby-ish to me, is it not?

One way to dishearten the Rakyat is to limit their movement (road-blocks) and freedom of expression (blogger harrasment)...

But I suspect, along with indiscriminate policing (read: harassment) like the all-too-common road blocks, is a symptom of a wider malaise that is ailing our society these days: systematic intimidation. And of course it designed to do one thing: to break the will of the Rakyat. One way to dishearten the Rakyat is to limit their movement (road blocks) and freedom of expression (blogger harassment). Keeping them in a perpetual state of despair. To what end? Furthermore, is it not mere coincidence that Bakaq's detention happened exactly WITHIN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS of DSAI being formally charged in the latest installment of SO.DO.ME. Part II? Not that Bakaq has anything to do with DSAI, of course.

The mainstream media's
BN-sympathetic press reports carrying Foreign Minister Rais Yatim's statement to "monitor bloggers and form a watchdog council" isn't helping either. My guess is this was Yatim's knee-jerk response to popular blogger Bro Kickdefella's suggestion to fly the flag "upside down" as a show of disagreement in the way the country is run. And go to Unker Bernard's, the ex-priest-turned teacher-turned-Zorro for a second opinion too.

In short, the BN-led government is displaying a classic response to being under siege. And when they're under siege, they resort to time-tested dirty tricks like intimidating the Rakyat --and to go hard after anyone remotely identified as "anti-government".

Well, I got news for you, Pak Lah, so you better wake up. What with the constant road blocks harassing the Rakyat and unnecessarily lightening their wallets burning precious petrol --ordinary folk struggling with the effects of runaway inflation --and your blatant "Get Anwar" campaign along with indiscriminate targeting of conscientious bloggers like Bakaq, or kickdefella or RPK, the Rakyat are getting sick and fed-up and -surprise? - getting more anti-government these days? Well, just go down to the warongs and mamak stalls to see what I mean. The Rakyat, along with scores of members of your own party, cabinet and BN coalition partners wants you to concentrate on bringing the economy back on track instead of this SODOM and going-after-bloggers rubbish.

So Pak Lah, notice is served. The moment you abuse the government apparatus to go after conscientious citizens your days are numbered.

And when you fall --and you will surely fall, make sure you got a thick mattress below.

And I assure you, the mattress, is not for sleeping.


I appeal to all clear and level-headed Malaysians to head over to Benar's site and sign the Memorandum on Media Freedom Petition. It will be handed over to national leaders on 31 August and to state leaders on 16 September. Thanks for the heads-up, Michelle.

Also head on to Harris Ibrahim's People's Parliament on how to save our judiciary.

And the brave young lady likes to remind you, 'the power is in your hands.'

Because it really is. So do it.


cakapaje said...

Salam bro,

Perhaps, if I were Bakaq, I may not have apologised. Perhaps, Bakaq did not want to do it too. For in truth, painful as it is, the logo spoke of nothing but the truth. That, is the condition we are living in Malaysia - corruption goes unabated followed by intimidation. This, reminds one well of the South American states who once lived in total fear of not the banditos, but their very own police force.

Surind Raj said...

Well said bro, well said ;)

Mat Salo said...

Bro shah: THAT is the intention, bro. To make people fear the police - and by extension - the BN government. It's a shame because Malaysia, if not for the incompetent fools, can truly be a great nation.

Surind Raj: Thank you, bro, thank you. All I'm doing is try to echo the sentiments of the Rakyat.

isyak said...

nak buat camna... tu namanya gatal. nak marah ke apa blogger pun kena lah pandai hormat budi bahasa... ini tidak... (penarik beca sendiri pun ada macam menyesal kerana edit logo pdrm tu?) Ada pulak blogger lain tu pegi buat perangai budak2 lagi pegi publish n buat gambar jalur gemilang terbalik... apa ke hal macam tu? demokrasi dan liberal sungguh ke negara kita ni?

daniel said...

hello mat salo, greetings its m first time here. this is a borneo based blog? :)

Actually about the freedom of expression, in my opinion these days media is free-er than er before. Not only for bloggers and the internet, but also for tv, newspapers (on a certain extent). If during our last PM, I doubt all this will be possible..

Mat Salo said...

Pak Isyak: Terima kasih atas pandangan Bapak. Saya mohon ma'af jika mempertikaikan "perangai budak2" seperti yang bapak maklumkan. Saya berpegang keras yang ini protes symbolik atas ketidakpuasan dengan haluan dan cara negara ini diterajui di atas nama "demokrasi" dan "liberal".

Daniel: Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Yes, this is a Borneo based blog. Are you from around these parts too?

I agree, the media is a whole lot freer than before but more remains to be done. It's only "freer" because BN lost their two-thirds majority, but they are STILL the majority. Only with Anwar coming strong again they feel threatened and suddenly we're reverting back to Mahathir's Era. BTW, Mahathir himself has denied that the media or the judiciary was stifled in the past. Even he thinks it's worse now, claiming the media wants to shut him up. I suppose a person's opinion is largely colored by whose side their on. And I am no exception here.

kbguy said...

I agreed with Kickdefella that the nation is in distress. I wonder how much the PM knows about it. Me as an ordinary guy feels how the people feels, or at least the kelantanese low and medium wage earner are feeling. I represent one of them. The wages earn are low as it is but the prices of goods and living expenses are excalating. Not forgetting chances of securing present job is tough and lots of pressure from the employer ever since the petrol price increase. It is very difficult for the nation to express in words but I know for sure, our nation is in distress.
I wonder did any of their elected reps voiced to him to bother more on the rakyak instead of taking care too much of his bludy pride bothering about other nonsence/ rubbish issues as you said ? It's time again to tell him.. wakeup LAH !

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

pakdol has failed, period. no matter how many thousand of reasons they can come up with, people's perception is that the gomen is milking in on the petrol price hike. it may or may not be the real case what the damage has been done. he goes and the rakyat will be sighing with huge relief.

Mat Salo said...

Kerpie: Ye laa brader, orang partai dia pun dah tak nak. BTW, minyak dah jatuh rega ni, bila kat stesen minyak nak turun nih? Gomen untung mayak worr!

Bang KB: Dia dah bangun dah, tapi I suspect powerless to control events around him. Ada orang lain lagi power kot? Ini lah masa'alah nya. BTW, dah kenyang makan-makan tu ingat laa sikit orang di perantauan ya? :)

faizal kamal said...

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indonesia good place . . .
nice picture , wow . . . thats amazing