Written by Politics Now!
KUALA LUMPUR (Politics Now!) – What a switch and a shame that it is now Umno’s Ismail Sabri who’s grilling PKR’s communications minister Fahmi Fadzil in Parliament for trying to curb media freedom by making use of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to clamp down on news portals and blogs.
Ismail, the prime minister who preceded the ineffective Anwar Ibrahim, had posed a question on the status of the proposed Act related to royalty, religion and race-linked offences, as well as the restrictions imposed on news portals such as Utusan TV, MalaysiaNow and TV Pertiwi.
“It is an outright disgrace for Anwar and Pakatan Harapan because it’s not just about the 3Rs or fake news as they claim but if you critique or point out the shortcomings of Anwar as PM or FM, and there are many, many deficiencies, then you get blocked,” said Wong Choon Mei, the editor and founder of the Malaysia Chronicle blog which has been blocked.
“And if you don’t critique when it is obvious the shortcomings need to be pointed out, then of what use is the media as the fourth pillar. Imagine if the media had kept quiet during the days of Najib Razak. In those days, Anwar and Pakatan relied on a robust opposition media that could deliver the other point of view to the people. They said they defended freedom of the media, now look at them.”
Malaysia Chronicle (https://malaysia-chronicle.com) is now not accessible in Malaysia.
Nonetheless, the ministry’s response was that MCMC’s role was to ensure that information was being disseminated responsibly and also to prevent inaccurate information as well as hate speech from spreading, Bernama reported.
“MCMC has the authority and duty to take regulatory action against the spread of false information, as well as offensive, threatening and defamatory content,” it stated in a written parliamentary reply.
AS NAJIB FAILED TO MUZZLE THE PEOPLE’S MINDS, SO TO WILL ANWAR
The last time that the MCMC had resorted to such action against portals was during the Najib Razak administration. Then desperate to prevent the massive 1MDB scandal from becoming public, Najib had launched the most draconian-ever media clampdown.
It’s not surprising that the Anwar regime has lost credibility so fast – perhaps faster than any other regime has so far – after backpedaling and failing to deliver on the very reforms and promises it rode to power on.
Anwar’s achievements have been very thin and his regime appears to be depending on the Little Napoleons in his PKR party to build a sort of cult-hero status to shield him and themselves from public criticism.
Obviously, the questionable efforts have failed. Despite all the ‘protective’ efforts including massive public relations, Anwar’s approval rating plunged to 50% from 68% – a well-deserved slap from the people for not focusing on improving the country’s economy and failing to keep election promises.
According to the Merdeka Center survey, the approval rating for Anwar’s government also plummeted to 41% from 54% a year ago when they swept to power.
POLITICAL HYPOCRISY & INTIMIDATION SET TO INTENSIFY
Yet it looks like the political arrogance, hypocrisy and intimidation are set to continue or perhaps even be increased, with Anwar still in self-praise mode.
At the PKR annual meeting over the weekend, Anwar rebuked party members for ‘trembling’ in the face of criticisms. According to the PKR president, the government he leads has surpassed previous administrations.
“Why are you panicking?” he asked the audience.
“If I was the one asked, as pointed out previously, that my government isn’t approved by the people I will tell them ‘Anwar what are you proud of?’ I would say, ‘alhamdullillah I am grateful I have monitored my Cabinet members’… and I will say, ‘never before in a year of a leadership that not a single member of the Cabinet is involved in cases of looting public money.”
Perhaps Anwar has caught some of his nemesis Mahathir Mohamad’s notorious ‘forgetfulness’. Anwar’s administration is already racked with abuse of power controversy for stinting on federal funding to opposition Members of Parliament – and releasing allocations to four Bersatu MPs only after they declared support for him in a move that reeked of pseudo party-hopping and money politics.
Does Anwar really think Malaysians will be willing to give him a 5-year ‘honeymoon’ to gallivant on the international stage where he may do more harm than good, while neglecting the very pressing problems at home that voters had banked on him and Pakatan to resolve.
Maybe, he’s already lucky they have given him a year with so little to show.
Written by Politics Now!