How A Bungled Attempt At Promoting Tourism Leads To Malaysian Bloggers Needing To Register With The Gov't

from the following-the-bouncing-ridiculousness dept

Mark & Tiara write in with a bunch of links outlining the bizarre story of how Malaysia may end up requiring bloggers to register with the government. It apparently started earlier this year when Malaysia tried to increase tourism with a campaign called “Visit Malaysia Year 07,” which included inviting a bunch of foreign journalists to come check out Malaysia. An Indonesian TV crew that was invited as part of this found that the trip was not at all what they expected, and one of the women on the trip blogged about her poor experience, basically highlighting how difficult the tourism board made it for the journalists to actually do anything (including film parts of the trip). Malaysia’s Tourism Minister wasn’t particular pleased and made disparaging remarks about bloggers in general and women bloggers specifically (saying they were liars). That made some bloggers angry (surprise, that) and he was forced to clarify his remarks, and he didn’t think all women bloggers were liars — he was just referring to the particular Indonesian journalist woman blogger — which again set off a bunch of bloggers. Next step? Go to the press and tell them not to quote blogs or use them as sources of information. He claimed that anyone who quoted a blogger would be disgracing themselves. This certainly seems like someone not knowing when to stop digging his own grave. Honestly, the only person disgracing himself has been this particular minister… but the end result loops all the way back around and the Malaysian government wants bloggers to register themselves. It’s not clear how this stops foreign journalists (and bloggers) from mocking bad tourism attempts and dumb statements. Luckily, it sounds like other politicians in Malaysia recognize how idiotic this whole series of events is, and don’t seem willing to support the attempts to force bloggers to register. In the meantime, a bunch of bloggers have now formed their own group to help protect bloggers in Malaysia.


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Comments on “How A Bungled Attempt At Promoting Tourism Leads To Malaysian Bloggers Needing To Register With The Gov't”

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28 Comments
sheenamelissa (user link) says:

I can't feel more sorrier

being a damn-proud-malaysian myself, i can’t seem to explain why i introduce myself as ‘i’m from sabah’ instead of ‘i’m from malaysia’ whenever i engage in a convo with a gaijin. but no doubt my govt has been giving me a lot more reasons for me to understand why. voila. welcome to malaysia – stop at klia – but i reckon u just fly straight to east malaysia. same country – same government, but at least we’re physically few thousand miles away from the federal offices.

tippy says:

People who make general comments like Mike, sound like the same kinds of people who would say … who would believe a blogger anyway? They’re all liars.

My own piece of generalization right there …

I’d love to visit Malaysia. It would be good to know what I could do to avoid the beaurocratic bungles, if there’s anything one can do.

steve smart says:

great!

hopefully Malaysia will follow through on this, then go around and kill all the bloggers they can find, since bloggers are just people with the obnoxious belief that their ideas matter…please start with Cory Doctorow who likes to remind the world boingboing is so damn popular yet starts off half his crap blogging with, “i havent had a coffee in years but if you do…” or “i havent had anything with fat in it for years, but…” oh like we care cory.

Gav B says:

Malaysia

Having been to Malaysia twice now I feel obliged to say that I found it a friendly and welcoming place. There is real ethnic diversity there and I found people generally very tolerant. The fact that this largely Muslim country allows the sale of alcohol shows that the religous beliefs of one part of society do not completely overshadow those of the rest………. There is a lesson to be learned for most other countries I have been to!!

David says:

The country is a bed of suspicion

Look at the history of this country. They are always trying to hide things from their people. Mahatir was a “king” and made proclamations to subvert the Chinese Malays on a constant basis. If something looks like it will allow the public to understand what is really going on, the gov’t tries to get rid of it. Therefore…blogging must go.

This is a trend in the world. With the internet becoming more prolific, governments that have traditionally been protective and secretive, are suffering. These gov’ts are generally the same ones that end up on the top of the corruption list as well.

Thailand is struggling as it tries to ban websites that insult the king, the gov’t, etc. They have blocked access to over 85,000 sites by last mention. They will learn, as will Malaysia, that in today’s world, you must be transparent and honest. If you are, then what do you have to hide?

Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

Sigh...

When Abdullah Badawi became Prime Minister, there was a lot of hope that he might do away with some of the paternalistic attitude that the power elite tends to take towards ordinary citizens. I guess this kind of thing proves that the Old Guard are still very much in control, and Badawi hasn’t had much effect.

ShadowSoldier says:

Personally,

I think that there are two paths to follow.

Path A

Physically and digitally isolate the people of a nation. Make it a crime to say anything negative against the government. Never allow foreign press in. Send out millions of pamphlets and brochures showing how great everything is. And last but not least eliminate all radio stations except, Radio Disney. It may be hell on earth.

Kei Kurono says:

Malaysia is a kewl place, but i wish we could reduce the crime rate. The people are friendly and people of races get along better than other countries, but i’m really hoping equality between the races is improved on cause at the moment there is a trend to lean towards one race over the others…. it’s better if we champion malaysians, rather just one race dont cha think so too ? Then maybe more people from the other races would join in the public sector like the army and police for example…

elizabethwong (user link) says:

Hello all. One of the blogs linked in the article belongs to me, so I wish to make several clarifications.
Malaysia is a great place, and I have chosen to live here, despite its many warts and deep abscesses.
The reason why the Malaysian government has had a knee-jerk reaction to, first websites, now blogs, is because it is an arena which it has little control over, compared to, say, the mainstream print and electronic media.
In fact, most Malaysian blogs do not have a socio-political slant. But it only takes a few to make the government jittery, primarily because they point to uncomfortable facts, apart from reporting on news that don’t make it to the mainstream media.
Whether or not it has an impact in governance or opening up more democratic spaces remains to be seen. But at the very least, we should try.

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