Infernal Ramblings
A Malaysian Perspective on Politics, Society and Economics

Malaysian Democracy Proven A Sham

Written by johnleemk on 4:22:12 pm Jul 1, 2007.

We already know that opposition politicians aren't given airtime by publicly-owned media. That's a travesty of democracy in itself, considering RTM is owned by the Malaysian people, who deserve the viewpoints of all Malaysians, especially elected officials and those standing for election (regardless of political affiliation).

But now the news is in, folks — the government bans private radio and television stations from broadcasting speeches by opposition leaders. Have a look at the directive from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission:

MCMC directive

Now, this isn't just the government meddling in the economy again. This is an outright infringement of the freedom of speech, for no good reason except that the government apparently doesn't like what the opposition has to say.

Of course, this isn't really news, considering we all know the government hates the opposition and does its best to muzzle them. But this is the first time they've really gone out and said "Yes, we hate the opposition and we do our best to muzzle those annoying people".

As Mahathir Mohamad said, in his time, at least corruption was done under the table. Now bribery is carried out openly. Likewise, in Mahathir's time, there was at least a pretense of government impartiality and typically indirect pressure was applied to muzzle opposing viewpoints. Now, censorship and dictatorship are practiced in the open.

Of course, Mahathir is to blame for both — by permitting subtle corruption and indirect censorship in the first place, he paved the way for Abdullah Badawi's horrendous administration's practices.

But playing the blame game aside, is there anyone who still wants to pretend that we live in a decent, democratic, humane country? Is there anyone who still wants to label our country as "close to paradise"?

The fact is, as long as even government cronies who sucked up to enough officials to get licences to run radio and television stations cannot air material that they like, we cannot even pretend we live in anything like a democratic or civilised country.

This is a kleptocracy, people. And unless we take action, this is a kleptocracy which may be soon kicking the bucket.

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Infernal Ramblings is a Malaysian website focusing on current events and sociopolitical issues. Its articles run the gamut from economics to society to education.

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