commended for averting an artificial crisis victimizing Jeff Ooi and his
weblog Screenshots, which would have tarnished Abdullah nationally and
internationally even before he could deliver his pledge of a clean,
incorruptible, open, democratic, accountable, people-oriented administration
prepared to listen to the truth from the citizenry
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik is to be commended for averting an artificial crisis victimizing Jeff Ooi and his weblog Screenshots, which would have tarnished the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi nationally and internationally even before he could deliver his pledge of a clean, incorruptible, open, democratic, accountable, people-oriented administration prepared to listen to the truth from the citizenry.
The initial comment by Abdullah on Monday suggesting that Jeff Ooi’s blog was an incitement tantamount to actionable sedition raised alarm bells all-round for two reasons: firstly that the Prime Minister had made a misinformed statement as he had clearly not been briefed of all the facts surrounding the Screenshots ruckus, and secondly, that it seemed to presage a prime ministerial “green-light” for a crackdown on Jeff Ooi and Screenshots, heedless of the grave damage not only to human rights and Abdullah’s premiership but also to Malaysia’s Bill of Guarantee of no Internet censorship.
With Keng Yaik’s statement that no action is contemplated against Jeff Ooi, Malaysians can heave a sigh of relief, not only for the sake of Abdullah’s credibility as a reform Prime Minister but that good sense has prevailed in the artificial Screenshots ruckus.
The Jeff Ooi and Screenshots ruckus should nonetheless be a salutary reminder to all Malaysians of the urgent need for institutional reforms to usher in democracy, human rights and good governance as these goals are too precious to be so vulnerable to serious encroachments in a power equation which is so lopsided –an unprecedented nine-tenth parliamentary majority, with more and more Barisan Nasional leaders thinking and behaving as if it is a blank cheque for all their actions, including abuses and excesses of power, for the next five years.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman