Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Egyptian Lesson: Malaysia Beware!

Hantu Laut

Power of the Internet which have either been largely ignored or curtailed by tyrannical governments had been instrumental for the Egyptian uprising.

Social media do not topple nasty regimes but activists can use it to mass mobilise people on to the ground by harnessing the power of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogs.The main stream media do not have the speed and reach as effective as these social media.

The Egyptian uprising was started online by Google 30-year old executive Wael Ghonim who used Facebook as his platform.

Wael was arrested and detained for over a week but later released. He is now considered a hero in Egypt.He could have been killed if the Army had been brutal in supporting Mubarak.The Army eventually came to their senses that they can't kill millions of Egyption on the streets and demanded Mubarak's resignation.

The White House is now in a quandary, they have supported this tyrant for too long, the next leader may not be as friendly.

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As news of the protest spread it triggered off a wild fire harnessing all available social media primarily Facebook,Twitter and YouTube. Facebook was the biggest contributor among the three.

The Egyptian government eventually shut down the Internet hoping that the trouble would go away which by then was too late as the news had travelled the length and breadth of the nation.It had no choice but to restore the Internet or lose favour with its Western allies particularly the U.S.

The Malaysian March 2008 General Elections where the BN was almost routed losing 5 states and its two-thirds majority was a stark reminder of the power of the Internet.In the Malaysian case the media support was mostly by bloggers and to lesser extent YouTube.Social media such as Facebook and Twitter are just as potent, fast and effective but was not as popular then.

The BN government is still living in a state of denial that the alternative media had played an effective role in diminishing their grip on political power. They still depend on the MSM which have seen most circulation declining as more and more people used the Internet to source their news.

During the untenable tenure of Pak Lah the most damaging to the ruling party was Malaysia Today, a blog with huge following run by the politically incorrigible Raja Petra Kamaruddin.He provided the most effective arsenal in the opposition's war chest.The government credibility was so low at that time even the untruths became the truths to his followers.He was a kind of Julian Assange on a smaller scale publishing sensitive documents on his blog on government's wrongdoings. He is still a wanted man in Malaysia.

The BN won the recent 3 by-elections which has put them back in the comfort zone and a state of complacency.Instead of embracing the Internet and use it as an effective weapon to their advantage they are now busy trying to pass a law to curtail the free flow of information.It would be the greatest folly if such law is passed and is likely to backfire on them.

There will not be massive protest on the Egyptian scale in Malaysia but there will be substantial cyber war during the 13th General Elections.

There will be hundred of thousands of blogs, Facebook and Tweeters they have to deal with in the event of a showdown.

It's about time the government embrace the Internet instead of looking at it as its enemy.


Anonymous said...

A nation of arrogant fools waiting to see their own down fall.

MahaLanun a/l Kutty said...

Not to worry, our saviour is on his way. He just told Siti Nurhaliza that he has the remedy for racial unity and harmony for BOLEHLAND. To me, however , his resignation as a prime minister of BOLEHLAND is good riddance to bad rubbish. He deserves to be hung upside-down for the damages he had done to the country and the sins that he had committed.

vinnan said...

The government won the last three by-elections by throwing massive amounts of money at the Malay electorate. However, I have serious doubts the government can duplicate the wholesale buying of Malay/Bumiputra votes in a GE, especially if the GE also includes the Sarawak state elections. Then again UMNO can always rely on the 'Mudah Lupa' brain of the Melayus to give them back their 2/3 thirds majority. As a matter of fact I hope UMNO/BN would win really big in the coming GE. Another big win like the one in 2004 will allow UMNO/BN to plunder the country even more than they ever did. The subsidies which are already disappaering will completely vanish and the Malays along with the Bumiputras will be the first to suffer. Sadly, only a complete collapse of the subsidy system which has allowed the Malays to breed like rabbits without worrying about the cost of feeding and educating their kids will wake up the Malays.

UMNO is clamping down on internet freedom after the by-election victories because they can sense that the 'Melayus sudah lupa'. Clamping down on the internet will enable UMNO to blind the Malays to their plunder of Malaysia. By the time the Malays wake up they like the Indons during the Asian financial will go 'amok'. However , it will be too little too late. If the Malays allow the government to crackdown on the Internet then they as the majority race in Malaysia who have kept UMNO in power for the last 52 tears have no one to blame but themselves when the subsidies which ALL Malayians are paying for disappear. Remember, all the rapes and murders committed by the Indons did not restore their 'Ketuanan Indon' during the Asian financial crises. The Indons happily allowed their government to crackdown on dissent while the subsidies numbed them to the realities of an ever changing world. Sadly, the Melayus will choose to keep believing that only the 'Ketuanan Melayu' system can save them. They will not worry about internet freedom so long as the governmet keeps 'the "ketuanan Melayu' subsidies going. Just like the Indons the Melayus though are in for a very rude shock. No subsidy system can be maintained indefinitely when you have a government which is hell bent on spending RM1 billion for a patrol boat while slashing food and fuel subsidies in the name of economic austerity.