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Malaysian Candidates Required to Have Blogs

Zonk posted about 6 years ago | from the make-sure-to-have-required-what-i-had-for-lunch-post-too dept.

Government 41

Pioneer Woman writes "Abdul Rahman Dahlan, secretary general of the United Malays National Organization party's youth wing, said all those vying for national youth posts must have blogs to introduce themselves and their programs ahead of party elections in December. The decision appeared aimed at countering heavy losses that the ruling National Front coalition suffered in last month's general elections. In a country where mainstream media is tightly controlled by the government they underestimated the power of online campaigning. In the past, party politicians have said bloggers spread lies and rumors but now even youth deputy Khairy Jamaluddin — who once compared bloggers to monkeys living by the law of the jungle — has a blog."

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oh yea (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23077682)

anal sex won't do anything but make your dick stink

What about freedom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23077722)

When, by law and threat of prison or death, you require someone to do something - it is not freedom.

Re:What about freedom? (1)

Comboman (895500) | about 6 years ago | (#23078742)

These are not ordinary citizens, they are political candidates. As a wise man once said, "with great power comes great responsibility".

Youth Deputy Troy McClure (3, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | about 6 years ago | (#23077764)

You've finally made a monkey,
(Yes, we've finally made a monkey,)
Yes, you've finally made a monkey
Out of meeeee!

Re:Youth Deputy Troy McClure (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23080206)

Someone really needs to make a Fake Troy McClure blog.

Bloggers are leaders. (3, Insightful)

baudilus (665036) | about 6 years ago | (#23077772)

From the article:

"All candidates must have blogs," Abdul Rahman told The Associated Press. "If not, they are not qualified to be leaders."
"He said help will be available for party members who do not know how to create a blog."

I was almost able to read that with a straight face.

This is like saying that everyone that wants a driver's license must have a cell phone. If not, they are not qualified to drive a vehicle.

I understand that the party believes the internet to be a key factor in their elections, but what does one have to do with the other?

George Bush doesn't have a bl . . . oh wait.

Re:Bloggers are leaders. (2, Interesting)

TomRK1089 (1270906) | about 6 years ago | (#23077822)

I suppose the idea is to increase openness, but really I'd expect this to simply turn into another PR outlet, regurgitating the same things as the media does anyways. But who knows? Maybe they'll have political podcasts for each candidate too (politicasts?) and a Twitter stream.

Re:Bloggers are leaders. (2, Interesting)

wattrlz (1162603) | about 6 years ago | (#23077918)

Perhaps the youth don't pay attention to the other PR outlets and one needs a blog if one is to reach them. One who can not reach the youth is not qualified to lead a country.

Re:Bloggers are leaders. (3, Informative)

schnikies79 (788746) | about 6 years ago | (#23078062)

If that is the case (which I seriously doubt it is), then the youth need to expand their horizons.

The world doesn't bow to "you." You need to research and dig into the issues yourself and if one medium isn't providing the information you need, use multiple sources.

Re:Bloggers are leaders. (1)

wattrlz (1162603) | about 6 years ago | (#23081906)

You've never dealt with children before, have you? I'm sure, if you have kids, you raise them to think and learn, and find things out for themselves, but that just makes them remarkable. But, even so, that's not really the issue. Generally speaking the onus is on the politicians to reach their target demographics and not the votes they needs to come to Them. If a one can't get votes then how are we to determine one is fit to lead?

Re:Bloggers are leaders. (1)

raju1kabir (251972) | about 6 years ago | (#23083630)

If that is the case (which I seriously doubt it is), then the youth need to expand their horizons.

In Malaysia they don't have many alternatives.

All the TV stations are controlled by BN (the majority party). Likewise every English and Malay-language newspaper with any significant circulation. The party selects the editors, and fires them if they report any interesting news. The party's acquiescence is required in order to get a printing licence (yes, you really do need a licence to operate a printing press in Malaysia, it's like something out of the Dark Ages).

As a consequence, any educated, interested Malaysian disregards the mainstream media as propaganda, providing little more than amusement and sport scores.

This leaves them with a limited set of alternatives. It more or less comes down to rumors and the internet.

Re:Bloggers are leaders. (2, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | about 6 years ago | (#23078440)

One who can not reach the youth is not qualified to lead a country.

The people affected by this aren't running to lead Malaysia (and eventually be assaulted by Derek Zoolander). It's roughly equivalent to the Young Republicans or College Democrats adopting such a policy.

Re:Bloggers are leaders. (3, Informative)

baudilus (665036) | about 6 years ago | (#23077954)

From the second article:

"Malaysia's mainstream media is tightly controlled by the government. Opposition leaders complain they did not get equal access to air time, in advance of the elections this month, while the ruling coalition of Prime Minster Abdullah Badawi spent millions of dollars on campaign ads."

His party still lost their majority, and they believe it's because they didn't utilize the internet. I don't think it has anything to do with openness - it has to do with those in power wanting to stay in power.

I just don't see why having a blog suddenly qualifies you as a leader - to make such a logical leap IMHO calls into question his own leadership abilities.

Re:Bloggers are leaders. (4, Informative)

Red Pointy Tail (127601) | about 6 years ago | (#23078818)

A correction: His party did not lose their majority. As of now, they lost their 2/3 majority which they have held for a very long time. The party still form government with simple majority, elects the Prime Minister, and can pass any law they wishes if voting enbloc.

Why is the 2/3 so significant, considering in most matured democracy getting 60% itself is considered a landslide? There are a few reasons:

- The ruling party is very dominant and had always held on to power since independence by large margins,

- The ruling party affliated companies owns most mainstream media and controls it tightly, so even with rampant corruption and abuse of power, all these are surpressed and the opposition made to look like weak and ineffectual,

- The last time the 2/3 majority was lost in 1969 - racial riots ensued, lots of people were killed, emergency rule was declared, and the government made a deal with an opposition splinter to join the coalition when parliament reconvened a few years later thus regaining the 2/3. So the government use this event (called the May 13 1969 riots) to scare and warn the populace: that to deny the ruling party 2/3 majority is to invite racial bloodshed again,

- With 2/3 majority the government have made more than 160 amendments to the constitution as they liked and wish. A recent one was to extend the Election Commissioner's tenure even when he was supposed to step down (some allerge that this is so that he can be trusted to skew the results in the government's favour).

- Internal politics within the ruling party is very intense with multiple 'camps', strong vested interest due to concentration of money and power, and ineffectual whips. Each camp is waiting to pounce to secure the crown of Prime Ministership.

Despite all these, the ruling party still managed to lose the 2/3 majority even with tight control of mainstream media (who denounce the opposition mercilessly before the elections). The explanation most pundits agree is that for once, the younger people have internet access to alternative media exposes of all the many scandals that came to light in the past few years.

This is a typical knee-jerk and panic reaction by the government that is bewildered and shaken that its tight grip on people's ears and eyes are loosening (it even got a Kafkesque Ministry of Information), and instead of cleaning up its act, feel like they must master the PR game that is now shifting to the internet.

To which I say... good luck to them!

Re:Bloggers are leaders. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23079526)

It's like saying that to run a good business, you need to have a website. Sure, you can run a perfectly good business without a website, but you'll probably do better if you have one.

Re:Bloggers are leaders. (1)

mapkinase (958129) | about 6 years ago | (#23080356)

"I just don't see why having a blog suddenly qualifies you as a leader - to make such a logical leap IMHO calls into question his own leadership abilities."

I think it's you who is making the logical leap.

He said: "If not, they are not qualified to be leaders."

!A -> !B, does not mean A -> B

He considers having a blog merely a NECESSARY, but not necessarily SUFFICIENT requirement to be a leader.

Re:Bloggers are leaders. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23085988)

In a country where the mainstream media not just controlled but OWNED by political parties, Blogs have been practically the only way politicians could express their views, and even question the government. Yes, in malaysia you can't question the government. 2 Politicians who were part of the rulling coalition were fired for refusing to vote in favor of a government project that was deemed harmful to the environment.

The internet has been crucial in educating the public. Blogs have been one of the methods. YouTube is another.

Blogs were an instrument of education. In which sense they were not just blogs... they were a source of information.
UMNO leaders having blogs is of no use. Simply because nobody wants to read the lies they can already read in the newspapers.

Re:Bloggers are leaders. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23078312)

I suppose the idea is to increase openness, but really I'd expect this to simply turn into another PR outlet, regurgitating the same things as the media does anyways. But who knows? Maybe they'll have political podcasts for each candidate too (politicasts?) and a Twitter stream.

Call my a cynic, but it's less that, but more to counter any "lies" told by the opposition. In a number of Southeast Asian democracies, there is an Opposing Party, but the rules of the game are almost always stacked to favor the ruling party. (And it helps that if someone in Opposition has a likelihood of getting popular support, he can be made to face chargse of some obscure thing or other. Just a vague enough charge to get convicted, and problem solved). And campaigning for the Opposition is made difficult (on purpose).

In this case, I would think it would be that the Opposition actually campaigned where there were no laws enacted (yet), and managed to successfully get the word out, to which the ruling party claims were based on "lise and rumors" (or basically anything that could be potentially subversive to the ruling government). So a little PR here and there to "counter" these claims.

Strawman, Begging the Question, and those types of responses will be sure to follow on the point-counterpoint arguments. It will be an interseting time, at least until laws are enacted and people are jailed over making potentially libellious or slanderous remarks. (I.e., it may be the truth, but if it hurts someone, off to jail you go!).

Just being cynical.

The Jungle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23077810)

Khairy Jamaluddin might have a point about bloggers living in the jungle [lyricsdepot.com] but not in the way he intended. Just change the song title to Youth of Malaysia.

WHY IS THIS IN POLITICS??!!! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23077828)

The Slashdot FAQ clearly states [slashdot.org] the politics section is for "news relevant to United States government politics. ".

There is absolutely no relevance of this story to the US government or US politics whatsoever.

The editors need to follow their own rules instead of making this site their personal political blog.

but we can bash George Bush (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23077908)

by constructing some idiot link to him and this article, let alone the opportunities to claim he is too stupid to have a blog or his having one proves this requirement false for Malaysia...

the abundance of free points in your karma is incredible! All these opportunities to bash Bush makes any store relevant to US politics

Re:WHY IS THIS IN POLITICS??!!! (4, Interesting)

eln (21727) | about 6 years ago | (#23078054)

This site is and pretty much has always been a personal blog with a particularly active comments section. There are many stories that are posted in categories they are at best tangentially related to. Who can forget kdawson's past love affair with putting virtually everything in the Enlightenment category, even though that category was intended for news about the Enlightenment window manager?

The Politics section was originally designed to drive page hits by taking advantage of the hot topic of the day, that being the 2004 elections. It has since morphed into a holding ground for basically any vaguely political story, and serves as a way to get controversial (and therefore high page view generating) stories on Slashdot that aren't necessarily directly tech related. The FAQ itself is so rarely updated that you could hardly expect it to contain up to date information on what individual sections of the site are currently used for, or even provide a good list of what sections currently exist.

In short, take a deep breath, relax, and learn to let these things slide.

Blog doesn't mean what it used to (3, Insightful)

billtom (126004) | about 6 years ago | (#23077934)

I think that this is just a case where the term blog doesn't mean what it used to. In the past, a blog used to be a personal, fairly frequent journal. Now it just means any sort of at least semi-regular postings.

I mean these days a company can take what they used to call their press release archive and call it a blog. Heck, by the current definition of the term, /. is a blog.

So all this Malaysian thing has nothing to do with blogging (in the original sense of the word) gaining any mindshare. All that is is really saying is that Malaysian politicians are required to put their position papers and general propaganda online. Unfortunately, no serious politician, Malaysian or otherwise, is really going to put their unedited musings online.

Re:Blog doesn't mean what it used to (2, Interesting)

catxk (1086945) | about 6 years ago | (#23078690)

Unfortunately, no serious politician, Malaysian or otherwise, is really going to put their unedited musings online.
http://carlbildt.wordpress.com/ [wordpress.com]

It's in Swedish, but in short it's the Swedish foreign minister's blog and it's written from a personal perspective on current foreign issues, international meetings, government meetings, etc.

Of course it's not unedited (one might even doubt Bildt is the actual writer), but it's musing, highly democratic and extremely controversial.

Re:Blog doesn't mean what it used to (1)

MorePower (581188) | about 6 years ago | (#23078902)

Heck, by the current definition of the term, /. is a blog.

The current definition? The first definition I heard for blog was "um, you know, like Slashdot."

A semi-regularly updated online journal was always called a "diary" since the earliest days of the web. It's the commenting ability that defined a blog, although as you say the definition seems to keep changing, much to my annoyance. What these candidates are supposed to have sound more like just an official webpage to me.

Re:Blog doesn't mean what it used to (1)

raju1kabir (251972) | about 6 years ago | (#23083698)

Unfortunately, no serious politician, Malaysian or otherwise, is really going to put their unedited musings online.

Jeff Ooi [jeffooi.com], Penang MP, has blogged regularly for many years and continues to do so. His political career started on his blog.

And Lord, if he has an editor, they ought to be fired. I more or less like Jeff, but he posts some really incoherent, raving, and ill-informed rants sometimes. He runs the comments section like BN exercises the ISA - with swift and sometimes pre-emptive attacks on detractors, punctuated by frequent disappearances.

Re:Blog doesn't mean what it used to (1)

Carlinya (622024) | about 6 years ago | (#23085858)

Other notables include: Lim Kit Siang [limkitsiang.com], the previous Opposition Leader, and Tony Pua [tonypua.com], as well as scores of Opposition members. The only BN Rep I know that had a blog was the MP for Subang Jaya, arguably one of the more tech-savvy districts in Malaysia. His blog was actually informative and less on the propaganda side. Jeff is an idiot, IMO, but he does have interesting posts.

Re:Blog doesn't mean what it used to (1)

sean4u (981418) | about 6 years ago | (#23086626)

Ahhh, Lim Kit Siang... For the Malaysian politician whose opinion I respect, the front page of his site always struck me as an unfortunate 'own goal'. An image declares 'Lim Kit Siang - for Malaysia', and the reader is invited to read his blog in one of two languages: English or Chinese. No mention of the official language of Malaysia.

As for Teresa Kok [teresakok.com], titling her site 'Sassy MP' seems a little out of touch to me - wouldn't 'Hawt MP' be more contemporary?

all professionally written, no doubt (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 6 years ago | (#23078002)

While it sounds like a nice, if rather naive idea I seriously doubt if it will amount to anything more than another platform to promote "the message".

Don't think for a minute that any of the candidates will actually ever sign-on and write content themselves - unless of course it's in the context of an on-line chat "ooooh, how trendy!". Even then they will have a full complement of spin-doctors examining every keystroke for nuance, mis-comprehension and sub-text.

The basic problem all over the world is that people under 30 don't really care about politics. I'm not talking about individuals - I mean en masse, as a demographic. This sounds like a means of engaging them - let's see if it will work

Turncoats (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23078048)

but now even youth deputy Khairy Jamaluddin - who once compared bloggers to monkeys living by the law of the jungle - has a blog
This, sadly, tells you all you need to know about politicians.

Use cron (1)

strider2k (945409) | about 6 years ago | (#23079154)

All the candidates need to do is set up a cron task that will post at the following times:

0800: Woke up and brush teeth
0830: Eat breakfast
1200: Eat lunch
1800: Eat dinner
2200: Sleep

This way, they actually do have a blog entry!!!

Re:Use cron (1)

raju1kabir (251972) | about 6 years ago | (#23083984)

This is Malaysia we are talking about.

0930 Go to work
1000 Wake up
1030 Step out for nasi lemak before the stall shuts
1200 Lunch
1330 Ask for the bill
1430 Go out for teh tarik
1630 Stop working
1830 Boss leaves the office
1831 Stop surfing the web and chatting on IM and actually leave the office yourself
2000 Arrive home after sitting in the jam on Old Klang Road for one hour
2130 Dinner
2300 Supper
0245 Make a lot of noise to bother raju1kabir in the apartment below you
0300 Go to sleep

We in the US should follow their example this year (1)

seanonymous (964897) | about 6 years ago | (#23081552)

We should follow this example, but rather than give politicians yet another outlet for the same tired talking points, we should require them all to post lolcats. Two a day, per candidate, or they're not qualified to be leaders.

Blogging - British socialist style!!! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23081874)

This is quite a funny blog by a Scottish local government councillor called Terry Kelly. http://councillorterrykelly.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] There are a few regular posters to his blog who bait him and he goes mental. The problem is he doesn't know when to stop and makes a complete fool of himself. There has been a counter blog about him setup called Terry Watch which 'organises' the baiting against him. http://terrywatch.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] Funny but sad that somebody so daft is in a position of authority.

This is actually a big step (2, Interesting)

Chicken_Kickers (1062164) | about 6 years ago | (#23082714)

This is actually a big step forward for the ruling coalition's big wigs. Until very recently, no one dares to openly criticise the Prime Minister or the high ranking ministers in the mainstream media or even in real life. The mainstream media, even the privately owned ones spew propaganda ala North Korea. During the previous Prime Ministers tenure, it even got to the level of Stalinisque personal cult. I once attended a university gathering in 1999 where a minister was openly criticised by a student. As a result, he flew into a rage in front of 1000 people and demanded that the Vice Chancellor expel the student. Now, they finally realise that cocooning themselves from criticism is self defeating. The Blogs will provide the people with a way to directly vent their frustations to the politicians. Whether the politicians will take heed remains to be seen. Malaysia is now at an important stage of political growth. Press freedoms are slowly increasing, with the mainstream newspapers starting to give equal coverage to Opposition views. People are starting to realise that they have the right to freedom of speech and should no longer be afraid to use it.

Re:This is actually a big step (1)

sean4u (981418) | about 6 years ago | (#23086522)

Yes, a big step. And that fellow who is often mentioned in the local media, got his name mentioned here today too! I was so surprised I almost soiled my keyboard. As an example of Malaysian politics today, he is without a doubt the finest. His column in the New Straits Times was instrumental in cementing my opinion of that publication. Reasonable people everywhere can only hope that the government will follow his example and guarantee the future they truly deserve. Gather your wits, UMNO youth, and show the electorate what you really think!

A blogger was elected into Parliament (1)

Timothy Teoh (1273788) | about 6 years ago | (#23085788)

I'm from Malaysia. What the article doesn't say is that Jeff Ooi, a man known primarily for his political/social blogging, was elected into parliament. Numerous other newly-elected politicians from the opposition had blogs. The outcome of the elections was simply unprecendented in Malaysian history. Of course, the ruling party fails to grasp that it is not simply the fact that the opposition had blogs - it was mainly because the mainstream media were reduced to little more than government newsletters. Everyone just so fed up with having propaganda shoved down their throats that they went online for alternative news. The opposition took full advantage of this, while the mainstream published survey results - commissioned by themselves - claiming that the majority of Malaysians did not believe what they read on the Internet. They believed their own spin! Nevertheless, misguided as the intentions might be, I'd hope that through the blogs, even government politicians will begin to light up and get some individuality instead of simply parroting the party line.

Re: A blogger was elected into Parliament (1)

JavaRob (28971) | about 6 years ago | (#23088048)

Agreed, though the interactive nature of blogs doesn't work unless you want it to. I imagine:
* comments on these "blogs" (if allowed at all) will be carefully moderated and perhaps simply fabricated
* they'll also be able to modify and remove old posts if they want to dodge promises they made (though they will have to learn a lesson about the unforgetting nature of the internet). ...though it seems like many of the Malaysian pols spout plenty of nonsense already with no visible repercussions. Would a bit more make any difference?
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