Rafidah Aziz Is Correct, Clamping Social Media Can Be Unproductive

The Star reports:

PETALING JAYA: The clampdown on social media, including shutting down blogs, will not stop the people from talking, says former cabinet minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz.

She said that such a move would be counterproductive, as people would continue to voice out when provided the opportunity and venue to do so.

“When people care for the country, and see things happening that is not doing good for Malaysia, they will be moved to speak … as I am speaking.

“I just care for the country, I do not want unnecessary problems to hurt Malaysia. But to the powers that be, do not just dismiss what people are saying in social media…and it is so very naive to think that shutting down blogs and intervention on social media will actually stop people from talking,” Rafidah said in a Facebook posting on Tuesday.

She expressed concerns over the recent curtailing of dissenting voices on social media, reportedly in reference to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission’s recent blocking of several anti-establishment blogs and websites.

The former International Trade and Industry Minister also urged the Government to take the concerns of the people on the ground seriously, even if they are voiced out in a disharmonious manner.

“Listen with the intention to understand, and to put things rights. Not to shut off people into the falsely perceived notion of being ‘silenced’,” she warned.

However, Rafidah also reminded social media users to criticise constructively, and not to hurl abuse or hate with the intention of hurting others.

Such actions will not get anyone anywhere, she added.

“These are times when we must show our maturity, and resilience, as a society … regardless of who or what we support. We must think of Malaysia first.”

And yes, I tend to agree with her and JebatMustDie, despite some can say that some leaders before had done the same, clamping down communication means via media used in certain time frame. The idea of clamping was workable, using the right measure and means.

However, to clamp social media nowadays can be double edge sword. The thing is, how much room is there, and how far and fast clamping and closing down sites can be done. And further, how the community reacting to such.

In my view, clamping down media at the moment government of the day were less popular in the previous General Election, and currently not gaining any further popularity by “wedging war” against Tun Mahathir and his supporter, with being seen making DS Mukhriz part of collateral damage, it is not helping.

Yes, those in support of DS Najib has over time and time again defending him. However, it is unfortunate that despite rigorous defending, the content at times looked unconvincing.

As part of solution (no, I don’t mean by DS Najib by stepping down), I am hoping DS Najib’s team start to take necessary action by doing the right thing. Yes, in my view, most of the times before he himself being seen making such “mistakes” is the people around him.

Among others, that I can think of are:

  • If being seen saying not the right things, please stop making statements.
  • If being seen saying one thing and do different thing, start doing what have been said.
  • If being seen not smart, start with small things that makes you smart.

For now, my faith is still partly with government of the day… but if government of the day thinks they can be there because they are better than the Opposition, just be prepared.. perception is not your side, even if you are much more capable than the Opposition.

Question on the street: How free is freedom?

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