Just not in the mood to talk of politics. Let us talk of something else.
The Red Bean Army (RBA) is now the topic of conversation since The Star made an expose of it few days before polling day. [Read it here.]
The ruthlessness of these cybertroopers that see no issue as taboo has attracted quite the attention. Perhaps, the fact they are mostly Chinese or their published name or nicname on the Facebook sounds Chinese maybe the reason too.
The discussion on RBA has now reached to the stage of whether there should be some tightening on the Internet freedom we are enjoying.
To us the pioneering bloggers, forumers and surfers, we are against it. It is tantamount to censorship and is against the spirit of the establishment of the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC).
But, how do we address this highly seditous behaviour and total disregard for the law?
Law and Self Regulation
The News Straits Times published the views of few bloggers yesterday:
Bloggers: Self-regulation better than Internet lawsWe concur with our fellow bloggers - Dato Ahirudin Attan aka Rocky Bru, Helen Ang and YL Choong. No comment on the non player University lecturer. She is just being theoretical.
KUALA LUMPUR, 5 June : The Internet laws imposed in countries like China, Iran and Singapore are too harsh and should not be implemented in Malaysia, say bloggers and media analysts.
They felt that social media users should practise self-regulation and be prepared to face the music should their postings breach the accepted norms of the freedom of speech.
There were also those who felt that the formation of an independent body or institution to curb the emerging trend of social media users openly instigating and promoting hatred and chaos in cyberworld could assist in self-regulation.
“It would be unfair to the majority of social media users, who use the platform wisely and they shouldn’t be punished for the recklessness of a handful few who don’t.”
Ahirudin, more popularly known as Rocky’s Bru, said emulating Singapore, which announced recently that news-based websites would be required to obtain a licence to operate, was also not the best option.
“We are far more advanced in terms of online freedom compared with Singapore and we shouldn’t fully follow the laws implemented by our neighbour.
“In the end, it boils down to the individuals themselves who should exercise control over their postings and be ready to face the authorities should they breach it.”
The Singapore Media Development Authority (MDA) had announced new rules stipulating that websites that had at least 50,000 unique visitors from the republic state every month and published at least one local news article per week over a period of two months must obtain an annual licence.
Websites granted a licence will have to remove “prohibited content” such as articles that undermine “racial or religious harmony” within 24 hours of being notified by the authorities
Licensed websites will also have to put up S$50,000 (RM123,000) as a “performance bond” that can be forfeited if the regulations are not followed.
This, however, has not gone down well with the online community, which raised, among others, the fear that bloggers would also be required to comply.
Ahirudin, a former journalist and editor, said Malaysia should mull the setting up of an independent body akin to the media council in the United Kingdom.
“The council should be formed with the help of the government and headed by a former media practitioner or someone of stature, like a judge or the head of a non-governmental organisation (NGO).
“It has to run independently and the council will decide on if an offence had been committed.”
Ahirudin said once this had been ascertained, it was up to the authorities to mete out the necessary action.
“Restricting the Internet will only make matters worse. The government has to adhere to its promise of not censoring the Internet but come up with other solutions.
“At the same time, we should educate the youngsters and remind the elders that posting such materials online will only put them in trouble.”
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s School of Media and Communication senior lecturer, Dr Sabariah Mohamed Salleh, said it was “too harsh” to block social media sites.
“Too many restrictions can make people retaliate. There should be rules and laws to curb this growing problem but, at the same time, I feel that one can never fully control the social media,”
Sabariah questioned how laws similar to those imposed in China, Iran and Singapore could be used to restrict Malaysians living abroad posting slanderous remarks.
“What about those living abroad? They’re not in the country, so how are you going to restrict the things they post?”
She, however, felt that Singapore’s Internet laws were a good example to follow but stressed that a thorough research had to be carried out to find out the best way to curb users from posting slanderous materials online.
“This is becoming a social problem. Defamation will be there, but users must be able to back their postings and be ready to face punishment according to the law should they commit an offence.”
Ang also disagreed with following the footsteps of China and Iran in imposing Internet laws.
“It would not be right to benchmark us against China which still struggles to fully contain the materials posted online despite the power-house’s resources and manpower.
“Should we review the laws, we should benchmark against the likes of those imposed in the United States and UK so that we can aspire to higher standards,”
Chong also explained that in order to fully monitor and restrict the Internet, the country needed an immense amount of resource and manpower.
“If China can’t do it, how can we? Huge volumes are posted daily on social media sites. It will be unthinkable to monitor everything,”
He said social media users must be educated on what they could post and what they shouldn’t.
“The same rules and regulations imposed for the mainstream media should be used for the social media.”
Datuk Ahirudin Attan says individuals should exercise control over their postings
Yes, let the law takes it's course. The individuals must exercise self control. And, it is near impossible and costly to monitor and control.
Ah! Pleazzz ...
For us that campaigned for Barisan Nasional, we wondered why The Star only exposed the RBA only two days before polling when their presence have long been detected and known in the blogosphere. It is not Concorde but Wentworth Hotel.
Pleazzz la, Kit Siang.
Do not try to deny or deviate attention by saying it is cooked up to burn DAP [read MI here], then say it is just a group of volunteer and BN spend more [read M'kini here].
Give us a few days to prepare. Ada bom mahu kasi letup (There is a bomb waiting to explode.)
In one way or another, every side has their cybertroopers.
We are an old hand in this game and we can name the names in these game; be it the players in PAS, PKR, DAP and BN component parties. At least, we can guess the players by seeing the signature imprints in the style of game being played.
The pertinent question is why BN did not have their own RBA-like cybertroopers.
Not that the idea was not mooted but given excuses to refuse. Not that no smaller initiatives was not made but not supported. Not that we've not heard of Scott Goodstein or David Sasaski or other real experts brought to Kuala Lumpur to talk.
It could be some Little Napolean are too slow to understand and foresee ahead. One fine example in the weakenss of UMNO's leadership and War Room operators inability to listen to ideas of other, especially of the ground troops or small people than their own.
Hope before JJ takes up the position as Special Adviser to the Prime Minister, he is reading this and muhasabah diri sendiri in this holy months leading to Ramadhan because for many years, the main complain on him is this attitude and reputation of his.
And, it could also be that the power brokers could not see the "opportunity" there. The buzz in the community of pro-BN bloggers is about leakage by opportunists.
Read exposes by The Unspinners here, here and here that have been giving many restless nights. One of the posting seemed similar to a comment found in our blog here. Another after event blame here.
We heard some will only undertake such initiative unless they could secure a certain project from a certain authority. Do you smell something there?
And, we heard from a highly informative source that there was a sizeable amount of money donated but a sizeable sum got hijacked and diverted to an off-shore financial centre in Asia into some personal accounts on it's way to be redistributed to various component parties and operators. .
Buck up BN
Oh boy, we still end up talking politics. Our point is this.
For us, why must BN or the establishment related to the ruling political party bitch about the RBA when they should have countered it themselves.
If they bitch about the few thousand members of the RBA, what happen to UMNO and their so-called 3 million members?
One SMS blast involving all UMNO members and it will reach out to a wider audience than Utusan Malaysia, TV3 and NSTP medias could reach.
We have raised this many years ago.
Problem with UMNO is that it has become completely reliant on outsiders and volunteers to do their political work to answer, disseminate and even carry out their campaign. Sometimes we think that the UMNO members generally do not know politics and have no business being UMNO members.
In the recent general election, UMNO and BN style of campaign was to only shake hands, kiss babies and ladies, and ask to be voted. It is so out-dated because voters, especially urban and rural returning voters demand answers and want to be engaged.
Not only were the ground campaigners hardly able to attack, they could not answer the allegations against them or reply back the opposition. Anyone heard BN ground campaignesr replied on the issues of lower petrol pump prices, lower car prices, rising cost of living, and free education?
Be it Penerangan or whatever does the outfit initial JR means, all failed!!!
UMNO members generally does not understand issues and if they try to answer, they resort to character attack and old school argument like ingratitude or traitor. Seldom it is too simplistic and just does not attract the imagination of voters.
All the answers have been generated by the army of volunter bloggers and social media troopers. But orang UMNO just do not f%&^$ing read. The talking points given to the Penerangan head of the divisions are usually lost in transit and not disseminated down.
Cyberspace have been the game since reformasi days and yet they have not grasped it. There is no such stupid f%&^$ing excuses to playdown issues or people will forget anymore. The Internet have long lasting memories and the distributive ability of computers and Internet is deadly
If we are playing up on Anwar to as far back to the reformasi days and perhaps his childhood, what made them think that people will forget Dr Rozaidah's khalwat case 10 years ago.
We blame the likes of Dato Shahrizat, Raja Dato Ropiaah, Tan Sri Rafidah and Dato Zin for losing the plot on the today's cyberpace campaign and think people will forget. Heard these people pushed for Rozaidah's name.
Perhaps PM and his Advisers also forgot that nothing is lost from memory when those with a past are selected in the candidate list and appointed as Ministers or Secretaries.
In the case of Rozaidah, PKR's Zuraidah Kamaruddin campaign machinery photocopied and distributed the police report on her khalwat case and in 24 hours, Rozaidah is a lost cause before she could get started campaigning.
It happened also to the Gombak candidate, Dato Abdul Rahman Ismail and many others who had a past picture and story left unanswered for too long.
It is UMNO and BN that need to buck up instead of imposing harsher law that infringe on rights of non-political users of the Internet.
Heard there is some effort to emulate the effective distributive ability of RBA. But, sorry to say, from what we heard, it won't work. Go back to basic, understand how things work and why certain thing work.
There is the expertise among the existing players but the power-at-be are too arrogant to ask from the REAL players. Novices claiming to be experts surfaced and they could buy into their ideas. So we have sub-standard work like .... malas nak cakap.
However, in view of those leakages, any advise from your truly is no more free. If they can pay the novices, it is time they pay us as professionals. They can afford to pay APCO, the Obama boys and Labour party jerks commuting and misbehaving in the ERL daily.