Malaysia disconnecting from online freedoms — Susan Leong & Terence Lee

Source: East Asia Forum

BY SUSAN LEONG & TERENCE LEE

Not long ago, the Malaysian government thought that mastery of the internet was a path towards economic development. In February 1996, it launched the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC), essentially a special economic zone, to entice high-technology corporations like Microsoft to set up shop in Malaysia.Malaysian children surf the Internet. (Photo: AAP)

To ensure the MSC’s appeal to prospective technology investors, restrictions on both the information technology market and on online expression were loosened. Whereas television, radio and newspapers remained restricted by laws like the Printing Presses and Publications Act, concessions to freedom of business ownership, employment quotas and censorship of the internet were made for the MSC.

Yet recently, two acts — the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA Act) and the Sedition Act — have been used repeatedly to contain the zeal with which Malaysians have taken to the internet. Read more

Engendering freedom — Tunku ‘Abidin Muhriz

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY TUNKU ‘ABIDIN MUHRIZ

MARCH 18 — Over the course of last week and this week, there have been many events celebrating International Women’s Day, which fell on March 8 — in very different ways from its first commemoration by the Socialist Party of America in New York in 1909.

When asked whether I am a “feminist,” I reply “of course, because I believe in individual human rights for everyone, regardless of the various attributes we happen to possess.”

On the whole, this answer is met with approval. But occasionally, I meet the more militant type of feminist who insists this is not good enough, due to historical exploitation by men and persistent institutional biases against women, and therefore extra measures or additional privileges are necessary, even if temporarily.

In such cases, I cannot help but think of the more militant type of ethnonationalist who routinely argues for authoritarian measures to “correct” racial imbalances, usually using the power of the state. Unfortunately, the record of well-intentioned affirmative action policies, especially in our country, is discouraging. Read more