Thursday, July 26, 2007

No freedom of speech in Malaysia

Raja Petra Kamarudin runs Malaysia Today, one of Malaysia's most popular websites. The site is a strong critic of government policy, and on Wednesday Raja Petra was summoned to a police interview regarding claims he had insulted Islam and Malaysia's king. He has since been released, but is apparently still being investigated under Malaysia's Sedition Act, which explicitly forbids criticism of certain aspects of Malaysia's constitution.

Raja Petra is not alone. Earlier in the month police arrested blogger Nathaniel Tan for a comment posted on his blog alleging corruption on the part of a government Minister. This was deemed to violate Malaysia's Official Secrets Act (that old joke is getting less funny by the day). The Malaysian government has since threatened a wider crackdown on cyberspace, including using Malaysia's draconian Internal Security Act, which allows indefinite detention without charge or trial. At the same time, they've claimed that they are not trying to "strangle internet freedom". Of course not. They're simply trying to silence everyone who disagrees with them, which is of course completely different.