Whether we agree or disagree with Raja Petra Kamaruddin, we should all stand by the words of Voltaire and I do solemnly agree, "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it." If he had commited any offense, let the rule of law prevail and let the process of justice takes its course. For good or bad many claim of the courts, it is a fundamental Institution of the country.
Journo-blogger Mohd Ashraf of the blog Jejak Pujangga said RPK had committed blasphemy and should be charged in the Syariah Court. By that logic, Malaysia Today deserve to be shutdown.
That is a weak argument. Syariah has no such provisions. It's obvious he is merely venting out his anger and disagreement of RPK.
However, such claim and logic can't be left uncorrected and allowed to catch-on into a popular argument to ludicrously justify clampdown on freedom of speech. Furthermore, accusation of blasphemy is highly inappropriate.
As recorded in a Hadith, the Prophet said to the effect that the sin of a Muslim accusing upon another Muslim of kafir is the same sin as apostacy. Blasphemy is not apostacy but is closely related. But that is not the main issue.
Asyraf is not the first person to disagree with RPK for view on Islam. Many had made issue of the rude, racist and nasty comments on Islam by his legion of commentators, particularly the post-GE 12 "highly biased selection" commentators. It seemed MT has a very ruthless policy to ban commentators for opinion that differ with the new team of webmasters. [This blogger that used to be a regular contributor for Malaysia Today was banned after making a comment to correct for misleading information.]
RPK is not, scholarly or sufficiently read or inadequate and simplistic in his fundamental understanding, to write about Islam. Highlighting some querky isolated cultural practices of Islam by Muslims is an unfair representative of Islam. This occurance is not unique and similarly found in all religions of the world.
Caution is also in order.
RPK has repeatedly mentioned in his critiques that there is nothing wrong with Islam but Muslims. Isn't that not true? He is not the only person to say so for many Muslim leaders have done so.
If Malaysia Today is blocked for alleged blasphemous remarks, what basis then for MCMC to allow more dangerous anti-Islam website like Answering Islam, Ibn Warraq's and many more not worth mentioning to avoid promoting them?
What more harm can a socio-political website if not just a power threat in the practise of democrasy compared to the millions of porn sites dispensing pornography to our childrens allowed access by MCMC?
Home Minister, Syed Hamid's comment that Malaysia Today's published articles are "libelous, defamatory and slanderous" will not dispell the belief that MCMC's order to block Malaysia Today is politically motivated. RPK is already facing Criminal Defamation charges for his Statutory Declaration, lawsuit by two out of three of the names in the SD, facing charges for a sedition charge, lawsuits and police reports by Shafee Abdullah and maybe others I am unaware off or will be filed.
Syed Hamid and MCMC's actions are actually pre-empting courts' decisions. Moreover, the action by MCMC placed the Government's name and reputation at stake. The Government has declared in a Bill of Guarantee that there will be no censorship of the Internet. Renegading on its promise, will make our country looking like a third world pariah!
How much longer should mind policing, forced indoctrination by cheap propaganda, and promoting ideas by censuring other ideas be an allowed practise in this country?
For an idea to gain acceptance, it must stand the test in many courts, most important in the courts of public opinion, for legitimacy. In the world of limitless access to information, people need to be convince to draw out their support and commitment.
Didn't we learn that it only create non-thinking followers that is in abundance in UMNO?
The battle of ideas has to be fought and argued on the strength of its merit. Censorship is the tool of the mediocre or inferior or insecured promoting inferior ideas. Damn this people for misleading UMNO' struggle for the Malays and nation as inferior and making it deemed unjustified to the thinking Malaysian public!
The press release by Dato Salehuddin Hashim, Secretary General of Parti Keadilan Rakyat is published in full below:
29 August 2008
Government should keep promise to MSC
Parti Keadilan Rakyat deplores the instruction given by the MCMC to all Malaysian Internet Service Providers to block access to the website Malaysia Today.
This decision is tantamount to internet censorship and is the latest onslaught on the civil liberties that are the right of all Malaysians. It is also a desperate act by the Barisan Nasional government that is still reeling from its repeated defeats and refusing to listen to the clear signals demonstrated by the rakyat time and again via the ballot box.
The grounds given that Malaysia Today is a seditious website are completely baseless and unfounded in any principle of law, given that there are ample laws which govern such activities and there has yet to be a single court in all of Malaysia that has found the website to contain seditious content.
Once again, the government has shown complete contempt for the principle of being innocent until proven guilty.
As we have seen throughout the world, "pre-emptive strikes" such as these are weak and pathetic attempts to hide a desperation borne of absolute moral bankruptcy.
We also view with seriousness the possibility that this is merely the first step in a comprehensive and reprehensible attempt to curb the access of conscientious Malaysians to the Internet, which in the past few years has been the bastion of freedom for all seeking any views alternative to the propaganda of the BN dominated mainstream media.
KeADILan calls upon the MCMC and the government to keep its promise to the MSC and to immediately revoke this order, and resist any temptation to arrogantly show callous disregard for the right of Malaysians to access alternative information.
Dato Salehuddin Hashim
Parti Keadilan Rakyat
I fully support his call.
Something must be seriously wrong with MCMC's action if Tun Dr Mahathir and Khairy can have a common stance on the censorship of Malaysia Today.