IN THIS ISSUE
lands in Kelantan
sacks Opposition supporters
assault trial postponed
on the rise
claims RMAF is crap
soaps 'a bad influence'
FEATURE: The Knowledge Economy
wants 'brain gain'
media system mooted
the 'secrecy syndrome', says PM
makes quantum leap into IT
|Eliminate the 'secrecy
syndrome', says PM
|Malaysia is preparing for a "quantum
leap" into the information age with the drafting of the knowedge-economy
master plan, Strategic Ininitive One . "Knowledge content and knowledge
contribution will see a quantum leap in every area - the Malaysian economy
and Malaysian society will not be quite the same again," said Prime
Minister Mahathir Mohamad. He added that, under the master plan, reforms
must be instituted in the private and public sector and "habits such
as hoarding information and the 'secrecy syndrome' done away with"
He added that this would need new rules of transparency and governance.
A government official who refused to be named said that
Malaysia has already gone a long way in eliminating the 'secrecy syndrome'.
"We already have the Official Secrets Act - so we don't need a 'secrecy
syndrome'. That is a major quantum leap."
He stressed that the government also does not hoard information.
"If we get information such as a politician amassing millions from
bribes or massive public funds being channeled to crony companies or family
members, we do not hoard it - we make sure we shred it as quickly as we
Keadilan Youth leader Ezam
Mohd Noor: Charged under
the Official Secrets Act as part of government efforts to eliminate
the 'secrecy syndrome'
|He added that this even applied to sectors such as environmental
protection. "For example, the government's daily air pollution readings
are now government secrets. But once people start dropping dead in the
streets as a result of pollution from the Sumatran forest fires, we'll
make sure the pollution indexes are publicly available again. No point
keeping secrets then."
When asked about the Prime Minister's 'new rules of transparency
and governance', the official cited the recent crackdown on Opposition
leaders and newspapers as an indication of greater transparency and governance.
"It is greatly transparent we wanted these people out of the way so
the Barisan Nasional can practice its governance in perpetuity," he
Air pollution are indexes
Minister makes quantum leap into IT
Government has no intention of
controlling Net dissent - they just want to shut it down
|As part of its knowledge economy master
plan, Malaysia made another quantum leap into the information technology
age when a minister forbade the Internet version of Opposition newspaper
'Harakah' to be updated regularly. Deputy Home Minister Chor Chee Heung
said the new publishing permit issued to Harakah can be suspended or revoked
if the Internet version of the newspaper is published more than twice a
month. He added that further action could be taken against them and they
could also be fined.
A local IT expert who refused to be named welcomed the
move, saying that there were too many websites on the Internet that were
updated daily, hourly, even providing up-to-the-minute information. "Why
do we have to ape the West and other foreigners out to re-colonise us by
allowing websites to be updated so rapidly? Relaxlah! We must show the
world that Malaysia can take the lead and break the boundaries yet again
by having the least frequently updated websites in the world."
He cited as an example the Prime Minsiter's own home page
which, in October 1998, still featured glowing tributes to Dato' Seri Anwar
Ibrahim even weeks after the deputy premier was unceremoniously sacked
Chor, however, later made a hasty denial of his earlier
statement, saying that he was incorrectly quoted by the press and the government's
policy was not to censor publications and materials on the Internet. Another
official who refused to be named confirmed this statement. "We have
no intention of controlling the Internet - we'll just jail or sue your
ass off if you write something we don't like," he added.