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Jeff Ooi appointed as DAP General Election e-Campaign National Director to facilitate a discernible impact of the internet, blogging and Youtube community on the next general elections
by Lim Guan Eng
(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): Jeff Ooi has been appointed as DAP General Elections e-Campaign National Director to facilitate a discernible impact of the internet, blogging and Youtube community in the next general elections. The government has dismissed the effect of the internet and bloggers on the coming general elections due to the low reliance of Malaysian internet users in receiving political news or current affairs information in websites.
However DAP believes that properly channeled, the internet community can shape the outcome of the general elections and even be maximized to reach non-internet users. For this reason, Jeff Ooi as the godfather of the blogging community in Malaysia, would be most appropriate for this groundbreaking role. The challenge to break the media monopoly and repression by BN would be through the internet.
Even though there are only 5 million Internet subscribers in Malaysia, the number of internet users is higher. According to internetworldstas.com, Malaysia has 13.5 million internet users as of September 2006 or an internet penetration rate of 47.8%. Compared to Singapore’s 66.3%, we are amongst the top 50 countries of internet users. This high internet penetration rate compares favourably with Asia generally. Aisa’s population is 3.7 billion in 2007, of which there are 436.8 million users as of 30.6.2007 or an internet penetration rate of 11.8%.
At the next general elections, DAP hopes to witness the birth of the Internet effect in influencing issues, have a say in setting the political agenda and shaping the outcome of the general elections. Whilst Malaysia would not see the same impact and effect as the United States and Western Europe, the time has come for the Malaysian internet community to stand up to the threats and bullying by the government.
Appeal for funds to finance the DAP General Elections e-Campaign
To this purpose the first step for the DAP General Election e-Campaign would be to appeal for funds from all Malaysians and the internet community world-wide to assist the DAP in performing this onerous task. Extensive resources will be required not only for the technical requirements but also in terms of human resources. DAP hopes that those who wish to see the enlargement of democracy and preserve the independence, freedom and integrity of the internet community can contribute generously to this e-Campaign.
DAP extends congratulations to MCA for their success in getting Wee Meng Chee to back down and submit to UMNO’s demands by apologizing
The latest episode against an ordinary Malaysian student studying in Taiwan, Wee Meng Chee, demonstrates the extreme lengths and absurd levels that UMNO and MCA would go, to curb online dissent, stifle diverse views and silence youthful voices. Calling Wee’s rap video clip of Negaraku posted in the Youtube as an insult to the national anthem, UMNO Ministers have lined up to condemn this poor student as unpatriotic and a traitor by demanding that he be charged under the Sedition Act, Internal Security Act and even have his citizenship revoked.
Instead of condemning such extremist posture by UMNO, MCA led by MCA Youth President Datuk Liow Tiong Lai has supported UMNO in condemning Wee as insulting the national anthem. For this reason DAP congratulates MCA’s success in getting Wee to back down and submit to UMNO’s demands by apologizing for his rap video.
MCA vice president Dr Chua Soi Lek, who arranged for Wee’s apology even said that he and his party had accepted Wee's apology, as if Wee had done a great wrong to MCA and all Malaysians. Chua even described Wee as an "innocent, immature and ignorant" youth who thought that he could become famous by adding to the lyrics of the national anthem. These are some of the same words used by UMNO extremist politicians.
DAP fully understands the apology by Wee in view of the tremendous pressure exerted on him that is almost inhumane. Many websites and Malay media organisations have been heavily criticising Wee, and some even had postings from individuals threatening to kill him and his family.
Having obediently complied with UMNO’s demands, can MCA demand that UMNO leaders such as UMNO Youth President Datuk Hishamuddin Tun Hussein Onn also apologise for brandishing his keris and leading UMNO Youth delegates in threatening to harm the Chinese community? Or demand a full withdrawal and apology from Umno information chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhd Taib for inciting the recurrence of racial riots on a scale not seen since May 13, 1969 if no action is taken against those who touch on racial and religious sensitivities via the Internet such as Wee. Tan Sri Muhammad even said, “Do we want the situation to come to the level that is more explosive than May 13?”.
Would Chua demand that Kelana Jaya UMNO Division headed by Tan Sri Muhammad withdraw the following inflammatory resolutions:-
1. To urge the government to develop special laws to take action against webmasters and bloggers, including foreigners, or locals who published comments, sketches or reports aiming to slander or insult the sanctity of Islam and the country’s constitution, be it locally or abroad;
2. To urge the government to develop special laws to enable the extradition of bloggers, webmasters, foreigners or locals who spread lies, insult Islam or the constitution, instigating tension and enmity among different ethnic groups; and,
3. To call for the revocation of citizenship of Malaysians considered traitors, whether the offence is committed locally or overseas, if a prima facie case against them is established. If the offence is committed by foreigners residing overseas, firm action must be taken to prevent them from entering the country. For those residing in Malaysia, legal action must be taken to evict and blacklist them from re-entering the country.
To call someone a traitor because you disagree with the views expressed and thus his citizenship should be revoked is most extreme, irresponsible and contrary to the spirit of freedom when we are celebrating our 50th Merdeka anniversary. Freedom to revoke one’s citizenship is not the freedom our founding father envisaged when we achieved Merdeka.
The real traitors are those Malaysian leaders, who shamed the country for being arrested in trying to smuggle A$ 2 million to Brisbane, Australia. Or a serving Deputy Minister who had held a Permanent Resident (PR) status in Australia despite taking an oath of loyalty to defend and promote the country. Would UMNO and MCA dare to say that these are not the acts of traitors as compared to Wee Meng Chee who had neither smuggled A$ 2 million nor possesses a foreign PR?
DAP wishes to stress our support for Wee is not because DAP approves fully what he said but to defend Wee’s right to exercise his freedom of expression. The essence of freedom of expression was captured by French philosopher Voltaire’s famous words "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
By victimizing an ordinary student, it is MCA and UMNO who are politically bankrupt to show that they are still relevant in defending the nation’s interests and distract attention from their failure to curb corruption and abuse of power.
Independent private school leavers should be first sent to Chinese primary schools to overcome the teacher shortage before being sent to national schools to teach Mandarin
By only allowing independent school leavers to teach in Chinese primary schools and not in national schools, Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein is again practicing discrimination between national schools and Chinese primary schools. Why are independent private school leavers qualified to teach in national schools but not in Chinese primary schools?
DAP is disappointed that despite being Education Minister, Hishamuddin does not appear to understand the strong objections from the Chinese community to using the service of teachers from Chinese primary schools to teach Mandarin national schools. How can Hishamuddin contemplate such a suggestion when Chinese primary schools face a severe teacher shortage?
According Education Ministry parliamentary secretary P. Komala Devi, Chinese and Tamil primary schools were short of 1,341 teachers as at June 30 2007. There were 1,163 vacancies in Chinese schools and 178 in Tamil schools and as an interim measure, the Education Ministry had engaged contract and temporary teachers. This figures are disputed by Chinese education group Dong Ziao Zong who estimate the teacher shortage as much higher and also doubt the assurance that the teacher shortage will be overcome next year as promises made to be broken.
Whilst DAP support the government’s move to teach Mandarin in national schools, Chinese primary schools should be given priority to overcome the teacher shortage. As the teacher shortage in Chinese primary schools in more urgent than teaching Mandarin in national schools, independent private school leavers should be first sent to Chinese primary schools before being sent to national schools.
By giving priority to national schools over Chinese primary schools, Hishamuddin and MCA will only arouse suspicion that this is part of their agenda to strengthen national schools so that Chinese parents who want their children to learn Mandarin will choose national schools to increase the number of Chinese students in national schools from 6% to 12% by 2010. DAP regrets that MCA has again failed to place priority in overcoming the teacher shortage in Chinese primary schools and chosen to support UMNO’s education agenda of strengthening national primary schools at the expense of Chinese primary schools as the school of choice of Chinese parents.
* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP