The message the Cabinet is sending out to the world in imposing such a ban on API readdings is that the government cannot be trusted in providing truthful and reliable information not only to its citizens but also to the world community. The international community, and not just foreign tourists, will therefore begin to have a big discount factor as far as the credibility of Malaysian publicity and promotion campaigns are concerned, which could also prove to be counter-productive in the larger government efforts to bring about national economic recovery in the shortest possible time.
Furthermore, such a ban on API readings will also be sending a signal to the world that despite all the fanfare about the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) and the government’s reiteration of its undiminished commitment to ensure that Malaysia take the quantum leap into the IT future, Malaysia just does not have the necessary IT mindset and culture to transform itself into an information society - when the government can be so hamfisted and myopic as to ban API readings from being made public.
Two years ago, during the 1997 haze catastrophe, the Malaysian government claimed that the daily API readings was proof of the government’s commitment to transparency. Is the Cabinet decision to ban API readings therefore proof that the government is backtracking from a policy of openness, accountability and transparency, making a mockery of one of the MSC Bill of Guarantees of no Internet censorship in the country’s journey towards an information and knowledge society?
It is ridiculous for the Malaysian Cabinet to continue to ban API reading from being made public, when neighbouring countries like Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand issue regular information about their air pollution standards.