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.