Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I am in a sort of Depression...

SO IT'S MAINLY A ROUTINE OF CUT&PASTE FOR CURRENT POSTNGS. This is to record what I feel are significal events to help us, including desi, to see the BIG PICTURE as the world unfolds. Not just unfolding, but changing, rapidly. Yes, the only two constants in life after a human's birth are death and change. I believe this series of C&P started a few days ago is a useful exercise in doing some "catchUP" ON THE ECONOMIC FRONT. Today I'm reprising a Post from an Aussie pressman about the economic landscape of the Other "Lucky Country". It's good for us Malaysians to know what's going on elsewhere -- Globalisation, emember? -- so that we can feel the economic pulses worldwide, and like Boy Scout, always BE PREPARED!

Sunday, October 19, 2008
So China will save us from a recession, right?
On Saturday the Age's China correspondent John Garnaut took us inside the faltering boom:

"On September 1, after eight boom years, the daughter was told to take an extended "rest" without pay. She knew the factory was in trouble. In March Han's 20-year-old son started work, loading the dust-like iron ore "fines" into compactors so that it doesn't all blow away when dropped into the furnaces. On September 27 he was stood down on a fortnightly roster of unpaid leave. "If the factory closes this whole village will have nothing to eat," Han says.

For five years China has been the saviour of the Australian economy. Its massive urbanisation has pumped up the prices of Australian resources and began to fill the economy with cash when it was needed after the housing bubble earlier this decade. Now, with the world rocked by the financial crisis, if China can no longer afford to pay inflated prices for commodities then the Australian economy is in deep trouble."

Also I attempted to sum up how things look at the moment:

"This was the week that fear of a financial meltdown morphed into fear of a global recession.

Believe it not, it’s an improvement. A meltdown of the financial system would have destroyed the needed to recover from a recession...

It has taken massive injections of government funds into formerly private banks in order to shirt back from the brink of a meltdown to do it as well as government guarantees of bank to bank lending and near-global unlimited guarantees of bank deposits.

Australia did its part on Sunday, abandoning an ill-conceived plan to guarantee only the first $20,000 of each Australian bank deposit and declaring that Australian taxpayers would guarantee the overseas borrowings of every Australian bank, building society and credit union without limit, in return for a fee.

Both in Australia and the US the enormous premiums that financial institutions were charging each other just to do normal business have begun to shrink. They have a long way to go until they have shrunk back to where they were, but at least they are no longer inexorably climbing.

A day later the US economist Paul Krugman was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics. He has specialised in examining the collapse of trust in Japan at the end of the 1990s. There, no matter how low official interest rates fell (and they got close to zero) Japan’s banks wouldn’t part with whatever money they could get and Japan’s citizens were reluctant to borrow from them and deposit with them because they had lost faith in the system itself.

Japan remained in or near recession for a decade, a situation Krugman described as “a scandal, an outrage, a reproach,” and a human disaster which had “subtracted value from Japan and the world on a truly heroic scale.”

Until the US modified its flawed $US700 billion financial system rescue plan this week to make it more like that introduced in the UK, and until the much of rest of Europe and Australia followed suit Krugman was worried that Japan’s lost decade would be repeated worldwide.

The Washington meetings attended by leaders including Australia’s Wayne Swan on the weekend brought forth a shared determination to do whatever is necessary to ensure that financial institutions lend to each other rather than hold on to their money - even if it means taking them over.

As Krugman put it on Australia’s ABC radio within hours of receiving his Nobel Prize, “if you can’t persuade people to lend to each other, then one way or another the government has to take over the function of getting money moving – it has to do whatever is necessary”.

On Wednesday at the National Press Club Kevin Rudd seemed to revel in the turn of events. “What we have seen is the comprehensive failure of extreme capitalism – extreme capitalism which now turns to government to prevent systemic failure, an institution it spent decades deriding,” the Prime Minister said.

What’s at stake is more serious than a game of blame.

It is well accepted that poor people and poor nations usually find it hard to borrow from banks, even for good projects. Economists call this a market failure. What’s concerning them is that that failure would spread to everyone – that after being too generous with funds, investors and financial institutions will no longer lend them out at all. Nothing was more emblematic of the problem than the failure of the fast food giant McDonalds to extend its loan with the Bank of America last month. “If McDonald’s can’t get a loan using one the best business models on earth, who can?,” the critics asked.

In Australia, even after Sunday’s financial rescue package, funding for potentially worthwhile projects has become to find. Funding for potential duds has dried up. Most of the members of the consortium which was to bid against Telstra for the right to build Australia’s fibre-to-node broadband network are reported to have withdrawn. Telstra itself is said to be finding it hard to find the finance. As the ANZ pithily put it in a note to clients, “investment in Australia cannot be expanded if it cannot be cost-effectively funded”.

It had been thought that Australia would escape the recession set to sweep through the industrialised world. The US, the UK, the European Union and Japan are all on the brink of recession and New Zealand has already slipped into it.

Our strong card was our exports. Huge increases in the prices and volumes of our coal and iron ore shipments gave us our second biggest trade surplus on record in August. Coal export prices have jumped 70% in the past three months after jumping 54% in the three months before that. We are earning 30% more from our exports than we were a year ago, and many of the prices are locked well into the future.

But the future beyond that looks awful. When the current contract prices end they will be replaced by new ones much lower. TD Securities is predicting a drop of around 30% in Australia’s terms of trade. The Baltic Exchange Freight Rate Index, usually a good predictor of commodity prices, is down 75% from its peak and is expected to fall further.

“Having ridden the back of the commodities boom over the past 5 years, the sharp reversal in prices now well and truly unfolding spells huge trouble for Auistralia,” says TD Securities.

“The further commodity prices fall, the more problematic is the outlook. Indeed, it is easy to see why the Reserve Bank is embarking on one of the most aggressive interest rate cutting exercises seen in Australia, and the government is willing to spray money around to the embattled household sector.”

The problem isn’t that the Australian economy has begun to turn down. Employment is continuing to grow. It’s that the psychology of employed Australians has begun to change.

For years now Australian households in have been spending more than they earn – behaviour that seems irrational until you consider what’s been happening to their wealth. As the value of Australian’s houses has soared (along with their ability to get access to that value through refinancing) and the value of their share market and superannuation portfolios have also soared it’s felt rational to spend up.

Now the mechanism has been thrown into reverse. Although Australians are still earning just as much as they were, they are now seeing the value of their savings and their houses shrinking. It feels right to pull in their heads.

Gerry Harvey of Harvey Norman says this week he had “stores out there where sales are up 5% and 10% and lots of stores that are down 5% and 10%, but the sum total is we are down 4.7%… I can't remember when that last happened”.

Tuesday’s $10.4 billion economic security package was designed to turn things around. There is little doubt that it will, at least during the fortnight in December when around $8 billion of the package hits the accounts of pensioners and family benefit recipients. When the US pumped a similar proportion of its income into cheques paid to families in May it managed to avoid a recession. But it’s a trick that only works for a while.

The government’s thinking - or perhaps it’s a hope – is that by the time the effect fades, perhaps in a few months, Australians will have noticed the sharply lower mortgage rates and feel better about spending anyway.

If that doesn’t happen, the Reserve Bank will cut rates again, and then again. And we may just get another economic stimulus package. Australia is blessed compared to its counterparts in that it has begun the process with a very high interest rate so it can do a lot of cutting until it gets to zero. By contrast the US has an official interest rate of 1.5%. There’s not much more it can do. The Australian government is debt-free and has tens of billions awaiting spending in special funds. It can afford many more stimulus packages than the US.

Some observers think that that was one of the reasons it made its package is so big – to show that it could. The actors in the ABC’s Hollow Men noted that “$10 billion” is a figure that gets attention.

The competing theory is that the government is expecting such an economic downturn that only $10 billion can prevent it. By not making public its forecasts until the release of the Mid-Year Economic Review next month the government is fuelling that suspicion.

"This package is bigger than we have ever seen before," said Professor Bob Gregory of the Australian National University this week. "That must mean that their forecasts are worse than anything we've ever seen before."

An unspoken government aim appears to be maintaining Australia’s high house prices. Yeas ago a Howard government Minister Ross Cameron observed that rising house prices “makes for happy voters.” The authorities’ aim right now is to stop voters getting much more unhappy. The government and the Reserve Bank can’t control share prices, but they can influence house prices by doubling and in some cases tripling the First Home Owners Grant and by slashing interest rates.

Having the Treasury’s Official of Financial Management spend another $4 billion funding the mortgages sold by non-bank lenders is another way of keeping downward pressure on mortgage rates.

We have moved a long way from the days when these sorts of measures would be seen as unwelcome signs of government interference in “the market”. The financial market has been barely functioning, and even now no one is certain that it is back on the road to health.

Avoiding recession will need everything that Mr Rudd and his advisors will come up with.

Posted by Peter Martin at 10/19/2008

Labels: china, commonwealth budgets, financial system, gdp, reserve bank

Are you surprised that police are perceived as the most corrupt?

Desiderata is not at all! Neither are Malaysian businessmen!

Let's hear it from a survey conducted by Transparency International (TI),acccording to a news report from

Msian businessmen say police force most corrupt institution, survey finds
by Maria J.Dass

(Dec 9, 2008): Malaysian business people are highly critical of the government's efforts to fight corruption compared with those in other Asia Pacific countries.

They also rated the police force as the most corrupt institution in the country with a Bribe Payers Index (BPI) of 4 (1:not all corrupt, 5: extremely corrupt), according to Transparency International's (TI) 2008 Bribe Payers Index (BPI) findings released today.

The business community also believes that their own companies are highly involved in corrupt practices in Malaysia and the region, while political parties were singled out as the most corrupt institutions in the Asia Pacific region with a BPI of 3.6.

The outcome of the survey is similar to the results in the Global Corruption Barometer 2007, said Transparency International-Malaysia (TI-M) president Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam.

"TI believes that while most of the world's wealthiest countries already subscribe to a ban on foreign bribery, under the Organisation for Economic Corporations and Development Anti-bribery Convention, there is little awareness of the convention among the senior business executives interviewed in the BPI."

"Therefore it is crucial that governments go beyond speeches and proclamations, and show greater dedication to combat bribery and corruption in spite of great resistance by self-serving pressure groups whose main interest is to benefit themselves even at the expense of civil society."

"Governments have to ensure that foreign bribery should be stopped at source and make good on commitments to prevent and prosecute such practices."

Ramon said TI-M believes that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Bill and two other bills to be tabled by the government in this parliamentary session will help improve poor public perception at home and abroad - that Malaysia has a mediocre score and success in fighting corruption.

"It is important that all MPs support the bills and improve them during the second reading and pass them with maximum parliamentary and public support," he said.

The survey was conducted among senior business executives from companies in 26 developed and developing countries, including Malaysia. A minimum 100 executives were interviewed in each country and the enterprises they represent were selected through a stratification process that took into consideration the size of firms, their sector and location.
Belgium and Canada showed good results by sharing the first place with a score of 8.8 out of 10.

AT A GLANCE--------------------
Practices prevalent among companies from their own countries, when operating in their own continent or region

Bribery to high ranking officials to or political parties
Malaysia: 42% of 92 respondents
Asia Pacific: 47% of 763 respondents
Average (26 countries): 41% of 2,292 respondents

Bribery to low level public officials to speed things up
Malaysia: 38% of 94 respondents
Asia Pacific: 45% of 769 respondents
Average: 43% of 2,430 respondents

Use of personal and familiar relationships on public contracting
Malaysia: 44% of 93 respondents
Asia Pacific: 44% of 762 respondents
Average: 42% of 2,401 respondents

Assessment of government action in the fight against corruption in Malaysia (100 respondents)
Very Ineffective – 27%
Ineffective – 46%
Neither – 9%
Effective – 12%
Very Effective – 6%

Sectors in Malaysia perceived to be affected by corruption (1:not all corrupt, 5: extremely corrupt)
Police – 4
Political Parties – 3.8
Registry and Permit Services – 3.6
Parliament/Legislature – 3.3
Customs – 3.3

Updated: 07:38PM Tue, 09 Dec 2008

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A wonderful morn to Thee

Especially to my Muslim friends who have performed the Haj; "SELAMAT HARI RAYA HAJI".

Last night I had a celebration of nostalgia with some close buddies -- and a re-discovered poet=buddy of mind must have "Desi" in mind/kind when he composed this, which I again lived up to my reputation that preceded me across SOUTH of the border bporrowing his intellectualism wit'out an AP!:) I know a buddy won't mind, poets naturally are kind, sort of.

So JOEpsc, Terima Kasih.
Tehtarik and Furong's bestA kambing awaits Thee at Lingam's -- Don't bring thy CJ!

So here's something borrowed from;
Go visit thy neighbour to read more of a fellow poet-asSpirant's hallowed ground.

Saturday, December 06, 2008



Abiding me through thick and thin,
A good companion you have been,
Profoundly you know me for years;
While I have aged but none the wiser,
Still fall like one enchanted lover.

Upon the tinkling of your bell,
Out ring your chants of haunting spell;
My eyes do mist with film of tears,
My mind is lured to somewhere yonder,
Where memories of old grow fonder.

You do inspire a hope and dream,
To slake my lust for days sublime;
A picture from the past you paint,
In it I still hear sound of scream,
Though some are lost in mists of time.

You leave me restlessly to crave,
For something somewhere in time gone by;
And this won’t pass to grant me rest,
But pesters on with every sigh –
Sad yearning beats hard in my chest.

You can’t hold long the days of old,
To let all mysteries be told,
That’s why I’m always back too soon,
When nothing there will make me flee,
A precious solace waits for me.

Events of past do come alive,
Familiar voices do revive;
Soft wind blows from the tranquil deep,
To whistle old songs in the trees;
And loved ones ever make eyes weep,
But soon they’ll fade with passing breeze.

Nostalgia ­­- sentimental longing,
Enduring every whim and fancy,
To heal a heart that’s ailing,
Fill mine with comfort to the brim!

Written by JOEPSC

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A significant speech to share with Media friends, esp...

Bloggers and B2Bs who missed the Forum last Fridae ight -- quite an intimate crowd of 50 made special efforts to enjoy a special TGIF's kind of night -- followed by Kapitalist HiTea-cum-Supper with exquisite mee siam (awe da way from Bangkok?)and hot coffee (bru-ed by Rocky?), and teh tari' (The K did not attend cos Desi forgot to send the invite, maaf ia!:) -- and hear's the highlight keynote:

GreAtings from from YL Chong, Editor, CPI_______________________________________________

Keynote speech by YB Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad
Bloggers Buzz
Written by -
Saturday, 06 December 2008 10:00

How New Media Trumped Old Politics and the Road Ahead

by Yang Berhormat Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad
Seri setia state assemblyman / political secretary to Selangor Menteri Besar

5 December 2008


In May 2007, I was invited along with Tony Pua, Jeff Ooi and Soon Li Tsin to speak about blogging in Malaysia. I spoke about the battle between the New Media and Old Politics: how the old politics of divide and rule; command and control is unable to cope with the open nature of new media. The new media, I argued, with a combination of Web 2.0, greater functions and interfacing with mobile devices is becoming more powerful and potent than ever before.


Of course, we have seen how effective NEW MEDIA has become across the globe. While Howard Dean failed in 2004, he paved the way for Barack Obama to make use of the Internet to emerge from being a junior senator with a funny name to the President of the United States. Closer to home, political consultant Douglas Schoen in Power of the Vote revealed how the netroots played an important role in the South Korean Presidential election as far back as 2002.

But we did not expect that it would play such a big role in Malaysia so soon that in less than a year after the function, Tony, Jeff and I all became Yang Berhormats. The 8th of March 2008 illustrated how new media has trumped old politics. It has changed how campaigns, even governments are run radically.

Before this, old politics reigned supreme. Since Independence, the majority OF Malaysians accepted the big tent of the Alliance Party and later Barisan Nasional as the one viable model of government for the country. This was considered ingenuous at that time: the Alliance leaders rejected Dato’ Onn Jaafar’s multiracial Independence of Malaya Party due to the perception that the country’s divided society was not yet ready for a truly malayan party. The Alliance allowed different communal parties to operate within the stratified structure; yet to convince the British administrators it provided for multi-racial co-operation among the elite.

This worked initially because the bulk of society lived separate lives, mixing but not combining – what JS Furnivall famously described as a ‘Plural Society’. This allowed the Alliance and their BN successors to perform feats of dubious duplicity in their discourse.

Their leaders appealed to communal sentiments when they operated at the grassroots level – in gatherings and through the vernacular media – but then spoke of unity and moderation to the wider public. It worked well, playing with our deepest fears and insecurities fostered by the huge inequality across racial lines that we inherited from our former colonial masters, while at the same time telling us that they were the only ones that could preserve our harmonious existence, even if it did not go beyond mere superficialities.

MEANWHILE, the Malaysian establishment maintained the colonial-era legislation that allowed for the muzzling of the press and suppression of public debate on what was called ‘sensitive issues’. Media ownership was narrowed and often in the hands of certain parties. This has contributed to the stagnant and limited nature of our press and public discussion.

This is why we see even the best and brightest of Malaysians believing that the status quo is the only route to power. This is why even the most honourable of politicians end up playing the politics of the lowest common denominator and pandering to age-old prejudices. This is why, they avoid promoting an enlightening and visionary brand of politics. As Tun Musa HItam once said: “a young Malaysian politician has to play the race card to the hilt even if there was not a single chauvinistic bone in his body.”Also, if Malaysians are susceptible to rumours and scare-mongering, it is because they do not have a free and open press to tell them otherwise.

But the emergence of a new media, amongst other factors, has changed the landscape. Here the ‘new media’ needs to be looked into its entirety, meaning not merely blogs and the Internet but also mobile devices and connectivity. Tiny, affordable mobile phones can take pictures, record videos and send out e-mails. The same content can be uploaded on the Internet at Starbucks to be shown on Youtube. This becomes a catalyst to viral communication as acknowledged by Jun E Tan and Zawawi Ibrahim. In fact, the uproar over the 2006 UMNO general assembly has illustrated to us how those used to old politics fail to even understand the most basic technology: the satellite TV. This was apparent when some in the ruling party replied that the racial rhetoric at the assembly was typical, without realising that this was the first time the Malaysian public was exposed to its antics.

Not only was the conference shown live on Astro, but it then provoked an excited debate in the blogosphere. Previously, the government could manipulate or simply silence the fallout over gaffes like this. The mainstream media would downplay, even refuse to report the incident; while the few independent publications had too small an audience and too long a production time to have a major or immediate impact. Now, what used to be idle Mamak shop chatter has now made its way to the Web, for all Malaysians to consume and discuss.

In the same year, a government minister announced plans to require the registration of blogs. This was another gross misunderstanding of new technology. A Malaysian blogger can still host his blog overseas while making the content available in Malaysia. In fact a blogger can reside anywhere in the world and still reach Malaysians. Indeed, it is a technical possibility to prevent content from reaching the public, but this is difficult, messy and imperfect. Furthermore, various ways exist to circumvent Internet censorship - as countries such as China have found out.

By the time the 12th General Elections took place, blogs were a force to be reckoned with in the urban constituencies. I set up a campaign website that solicited donations and showed my campaign videos. Several mainstream journalists contacted me to cover my campaign, but little, if any of their stories ended up being published. Instead, my team organised a “blog for Nik Nazmi day” during the run-up to the election to hype up the campaign as well as launched a Friends of Nik Nazmi page on Facebook. Keadilan sent out SMSes to millions of voters, customised for each constituency to get our message across.

When the results trickled in on 8th of March, it was clear that the urban voters, especially the younger generation, voted against the BN in a big way. Clearly, the new media played a big role in trumping old politics. Of course, other factors also came into play: a united Opposition led by Anwar Ibrahim, rising costs of living and a weak government. But the new media definitely had a key role, in that it helped bring out voters by the thousands, many of whom were voting for the first time in their lives.

What next?

While we have established that the new media played an important role in trumping old politics, the next question is: “What next?”

Politically, it is clear that new media has changed campaigning in Malaysia. UMNO has also recognised this fact and many of their leaders have entered the blogosphere despite having denigrated it in the past. Khir Toyo, Muhammad Muhammad Taib and Ali Rustam have all started blogs. Even Najib Razak has set up his own website. While this is generally a welcome development, we cannot forget that their sectarian, divisive and backward message remains the same.

We need to realise that while the last General Elections has breathed new life into Malaysian democracy, more needs to be done. More needs to be done for new media to succeed. More needs to be done to end old politics once and for all. More needs to be done for democracy to be entrenched in the Malaysian landscape.

We need to push the envelope, to consolidate the gains we have made and make them a permanent feature in our national life. Those opposed to a multiracial and democratic Malaysia are attempting to turn back the clock with every old trick in the book. Their most potent weapon thus far has been sectarianism.

Racism is still rife, and as the establishment comes undone further due to the discontent on the ground, the racial rhetoric will become more apparent. Samuel Johnson once said patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. In Malaysia racism is the last refuge of the politicians. The use of arbitrary force, including the ISA continues unabated as we have seen in the manifestly unjust detentions of Raja Petra Kamaruddin and Teresa Kok.

Ironically, the new media was very much involved in these arrests: Petra is of course the editor of Malaysia Today while Khir Toyo made some accusations against Teresa on his blog that was picked up by Utusan in an attempt to stir up Malay sentiment. Not long before Teresa was arrested, photos that purportedly showed her campaigning against Jawi signboards made its rounds over the Internet. Furthermore, the BN-controlled mainstream media has attempted to exploit what they believe to be divisions in the blogosphere.

But the nature of the new media means that those standing up for democracy can use it to counter the slander and the spin. This was not possible before due to the dominance of the government-controlled media, but ICT and its tools now allow us to get our side of the story out to as many people as possible at the lowest cost available.

In my mind, we can advance our cause through the new media by pursuing the following five points:

1. First, unity is essential. It is important that practitioners of the new media respond with a united voice against the arbitrary use of the law or other, more insidious attempts in order to silence, intimidate or control them. Also, attempts to split the progressive movement in the country along sectarian or even ideological lines must be exposed and resisted. The fact is that there are only two groups in Malaysia today: those who want to change the country for the better, and those who do not want this.

2. On the other hand, however, the netroots must always keep in mind that we have to practice what we preach. We too, must exercise the principles of independence, free speech and critical thinking on our blogs or websites. We must allow views different from ours a free hearing. We too must be willing to accept criticism and the fact that some people will not agree with us no matter what.

The great danger in these times of transition is that we become too frustrated and resort to uncouth or even extreme methods in opposing the old politics. We cannot do that. We cannot allow the reactionary forces in this country to claim the moral high ground on any point. We must ensure that the new media always remains an avenue for free and open discourse. If there is something we disagree with, it is always better and more effective to come up with a proper rebuttal to it rather than censor or deride the holder of those views.

3. There is also a need for us to continue to expand the netroots. The greater Internet penetration, and the more tech-savvy Malaysians are, the easier the process of democratisation becomes. Part of our activism must therefore go to ensuring that access to ICT is expanded across the board in Malaysia. Part of our agenda must ensure that the people in the places with the least access to such technology gets it, and more importantly – they are given the resources to use such innovations critically and well. It is no accident that in Selangor, BN seats only remain in the rural areas.

This is, however, more than just about politics. Giving underprivileged Malaysians access to the Internet, especially young ones, also helps close socio-economic gaps. Knowledge is power. Someone with Internet access in today’s globalised; knowledge-based economy definitely has an edge over someone who does not. Spreading ICT will help to resolve the great inequalities that exist in our society.

The Selangor state government has introduced a wireless service in Shah Alam and hopes to expand it to over 90 percent of urban areas by 2010. Currently there are over 13 million Internet users in malaysia, half of the total population. As Jun-E Tan and Zawawi Ibrahim wrote in Blogging and Democratisation in Malaysia: A New Covil Society in the Making, bloggers are the new thought leaders of the younger generation.

4. New media practitioners should also maintain the highest journalistic ethics and standards. Blogs, regardless of what they were originally created for, are now public documents that are in the public domain. This is especially true for socio-political blogs and websites. Its owners, therefore, must ensure that their writing receives the same duty of care and professionalism that goes into other journalistic mediums.

Take note, the last thing that is being advocated here is for bloggers to ‘watch what they say’. Overcautious self-censorship and the lack of courage will doubtlessly compromise the new media the same way it emasculated its mainstream counterpart. Rather, what is alluded to is the undeniable fact that being ethical, transparent and professional in ones blogging gives one’s writing credibility amongst ones audience that is unbeatable.

5. This may be controversial, but perhaps new media practitioners should explore forming alliances with certain members of the mainstream media. It is true, as alluded to earlier, that most mainstream media outlets in the country have regrettably been reduced to becoming mere tools of the ruling party. We need to acknowledge however, after 8th of March, there has been some shift in the mainstream media in trying to become more credible, perhaps with the exception of Utusan Malaysia.

While during campaigning it was difficult to get my story published in the mainstream media, on 9th of March, I received a call from one of the journalists who told me today she will cover my post-election activities and the editor has promised her it will be published this time around. True enough, it was published immediately the next day

But there are many restrictions that continue to exist, and that many journalists ‘still in the system’ are growing increasingly frustrated with the restrictions imposed on them and desire a free press just as badly as their new media counterparts do. We must never forget that our goal is not to supplant or destroy the traditional media, but to free it from undue political influence and complement it as channels of public opinion. The netroots should therefore reaffirm its commitment to campaign to support mainstream media journalists who continue to uphold the principles of integrity in their reporting.

The Selangor state government has formed a taskforce on the Freedom of Information to look into ways on how the state can get around the OSA to promote a more transparent and accountable government through a freedom of information enactment

Malaysia has already come a long way through the new media. If the latter continues to be fully utilised courageously and shrewdly, then our country can progress further still. But old media will not disappear, and it is crucial that we get the old media to advance our cause. Even now, we see some changes from the mainstream media, but more needs to be done for lasting change to become a reality.

The new media has provided new possibilities and unleashed new forces. The new media has trumped old politics. The new media can be the vanguard for a new Malaysia.

Thank you.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Forum on Friday that Would Rock You Bloggers!

Also would Rock&Roll B2Bs, which is short for Bloggers-to-Be!



Forum and Book Launch on "New Media and Democratization in Malaysia" in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, December 5, 2008

A Forum on "New Media and Democratization in Malaysia" will be held on Friday, December 5, 2008 from 8.00-10.00pm at the KLSCAH auditorium, Kuala Lumpur. The forum will feature as keynote speaker Yang Berhormat NIK NAZMI NIK AHMAD, a Selangor State Assemblyman, and Political Secretary to the Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.

The occasion will also witness the launch of a book titled “"Blogging and Democratization in Malaysia", and its co-authors Prof. Wan Zawawi Ibrahim, and Sdri Jun-E Tan, will be present to speak about their work. Other speakers include representatives from the organizations collaborating in the programme.

Members of the public are invited to attend the forum which is jointly organized by the Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI), SIRD-Gerak Budaya, the National Alliance of Bloggers (All-Blogs) and the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH).

The Forum was initiated mainly by the CPI YouthSpeak Section which has the objective of promoting discourse through writings and discussion at the CPI website coordinated by Wan Fadzrul and John Lee, and via public forums such as this current one, to encourage the youth of Malaysia to take part actively in the democratization process in the country.


The Final Programme is as follows:

"New Media and Democratization in Malaysia".

*** Date/time of Forum: Friday, December 5, 8.00pm-10.00pm, with Tea to follow

*** Venue: KL and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall auditorium,
1,Jalan Maharajalela, Kuala Lumpur

**** (1) Welcome speech by Sdr YL Chong, Editor, CPI

**** (2) Keynote speaker: YB Sdr Nik Nazmi, PKR SA and Political Secretary to Selangor MB

**** (3) Sdr Wan Fadzrul Wan Bahrum, CPI YouthSpeak Coordinator

**** (4) Sdr Yeoh Lee Hin, CPI (Chinese) Web administrator

**** (5) Sdri Jun-E Tan, co-author of "Blogging and Democratization in Malaysia"

**** (6) Prof. Wan Zawawi, co-author of “Blogging and Democratization in Malaysia”

**** (7) Sdr Teh Yee Keong, KLSCAH Representative

***** (8) Sdr Ahirudin Attan aka Rockybru, Interim President, National Alliance of Bloggers

***** Q and A session

NOTE: For further information, please contact

YL Chong: 012-9702285
Helen Ang: 013-2240985