As Bloggers Take Office In Malaysia, Gov't Orders ISPs To Block Certain Blogs

from the crack-down dept

Over the last couple of years, we’ve had a series of interesting stories about how the Malaysian gov’t is dealing with “blogs.” First, a gov’t official slammed blogs and tried to pass a law requiring bloggers to register with the government. Outrage over such a plan resulted in it being scrapped, but the majority ruling party still struggled with blogs — though tried to figure out ways to respond to them more feasibly than attacking them. It set up a gov’t agency to respond to bloggers, and later required certain candidates for offices to set up their own blogs. Of course, it also tried to crack down on some bloggers it didn’t like, including having a state owned paper file a libel suit over a blog.

So, with that background, it was interesting to spot two separate stories having to do with blogs in Malaysia. The first, talks about how one of the political bloggers who had been so critical of the gov’t turned that attention into getting himself elected as an opposition candidate. He’s now taking office. However, the other article shows that the ruling party hasn’t quite come to grips with these opposition blogs. Perhaps because of the victories of blogging members of the opposition party, the government has now ordered Malaysian ISPs to start blocking certain political blogs.

From the sound of it, the ruling party is still pretty confused about how this all works. While it gave lip service to blogging, when blogging appeared to help the opposition a lot more than it helped the ruling party, it decided to start blocking and censoring certain blogs critical of the government. This seems pretty likely to backfire, as it should only upset gov’t critics even more — including those who are now in the Parliament itself.

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Comments on “As Bloggers Take Office In Malaysia, Gov't Orders ISPs To Block Certain Blogs”

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Dohn Joe says:


…and the wonderful open design of the internet skips right over it, yet again:

What I always find interesting about when your know-nothing dopey talks about or addresses blogs (usually politicians) is that they have no idea what they really are. I’m referring to the fact that they’re a “Web Log”, basically a private diary that’s publicly available (although most blog authors no longer write in such a manner in that they are actually addressing an audience). I find that one easy way to discern the level of idiocy in policy, reactions, or talk about blogs is to literally replace the words “blog” with “personal diary” and “blogger(s)” with “person/people writing personal diaries”.

Dohn Joe says:


Sorry Junior but as anyone who’s been following internet trends for more than 5 years knows blogs stemmed from personal diary webpages which were for small groups but available publicly (yes, once Google started crawling them they became “public” in the sense you’re referring to).

What you’re referring to is nothing more than publicists who were writing “online articles” calling them to “blogs” since it was the buzzword of the day. So now the terminology is blurred due to this misuse but a true “Blog” is a diary/account of a personal nature or intended for a specific group (i.e. club or family) and happens to be publicly accessible for convenience.

Chris (profile) says:

Short sighted Malaysian Policy Makers

A number of years ago I was in Malaysia on business and several people spoke to me about the planned ‘hi-tech corridor’ that was being build near KL that was going to compete with Silicon Valley by attracting the best and the brightest from around the world to this government-backed mega business park. It all sounded quite abitious but as a guest in their country, I smiled, nodded politely, and said nothing. Of course, even then, the heavy hand of the ruling party in their dealings with opposition parties was already well known and widely written about in the press, except of course in Malaysia itself.

I guess their view was the the best and the brightest tech-saavy talent would enjoy living in an environment of cencorship, one-sided government policies and (notable in articles such as this one) restrictive access to openly shared ideas. Yup, that worked really well, didn’t it?

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