THE Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission’s (MCMC) instructions to blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin to remove articles pertaining to billionaire Robert Kuok is a clear admission that the ruling party has failed in its bid to demonise the opposition, said analysts.
“This is the clearest indication that Barisan Nasional’s operatives have burnt their hands in using Kuok to defame and attack the opposition,” said Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong.
“And it is now backtracking after it has suffered a backlash from the community.”
In a letter to the blog’s administrator yesterday, MCMC ordered the removal of the articles – “Robert Kuok wants Chinese rule in Malaysia”, “Malaysian Insight funder fingered” and “Robert Kuok’s last chance at changing the government” – by 10am today.
MCMC said the articles were in violation of Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act, which criminalises use of the Internet for communications that are “obscene, indecent, false, menacing or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass another person”.
A check on the blog yesterday evening showed that the articles have been removed.
Liew said the Kuok articles showed how far BN had failed to read the sentiments of Malaysians.
“By using Kuok to attack us, they have overplayed their hand and don’t really understand voters,” said Liew who is also DAP political education director.
But Penang Institute researcher Dr Wong Chin Huat cautioned that the Raja Petra debacle should not be used as a precedent to act against legitimate news portals.
Wong, who taught media studies before turning to research, said MCMC may have “unwittingly set a standard where people in the future may use this case to demand similar actions against others”.
And as for whether MCMC was trying to mend broken fences after the articles had upset the Chinese community, Wong said it was too little too late.
“I think by now, almost everybody knows who pays for the blog and the damage (for using Kuok to attack the opposition) is already done. It is too late as the horse has already bolted,” said Wong.
MCA publicity spokesman Ti Lian Ker said MCMC was merely doing its job to stop annoying articles and fake news.
Ti, who lauded MCMC’s move to order Raja Petra to remove the three articles, said it was in line with the government’s plan to stamp out fake news.
“Raja Petra has written fake news about Kuok and it makes sense to stop him. It is also high time that articles that politicise anything and everything be put to a stop.
“MCMC has to also act fairly and consistently in stopping fake articles for and against the opposition and government.
“The articles by Raja Petra do not help with our nation-building and the interracial relations that has taken the government decades to build,” added Ti.