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Malaysian Candidates Required to Have Blogs 41

Pioneer Woman writes "Abdul Rahman Dahlan, secretary general of the United Malays National Organization party's youth wing, said all those vying for national youth posts must have blogs to introduce themselves and their programs ahead of party elections in December. The decision appeared aimed at countering heavy losses that the ruling National Front coalition suffered in last month's general elections. In a country where mainstream media is tightly controlled by the government they underestimated the power of online campaigning. In the past, party politicians have said bloggers spread lies and rumors but now even youth deputy Khairy Jamaluddin — who once compared bloggers to monkeys living by the law of the jungle — has a blog."
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Malaysian Candidates Required to Have Blogs

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  • by malinha ( 1273344 ) on Tuesday April 15, 2008 @11:05AM (#23077732)
    They forgot hi5 and myspace, all full and loaded!!
  • by Rob T Firefly ( 844560 ) on Tuesday April 15, 2008 @11:08AM (#23077764) Homepage Journal
    You've finally made a monkey,
    (Yes, we've finally made a monkey,)
    Yes, you've finally made a monkey
    Out of meeeee!
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Someone really needs to make a Fake Troy McClure blog.
  • by baudilus ( 665036 ) on Tuesday April 15, 2008 @11:08AM (#23077772)
    From the article:

    "All candidates must have blogs," Abdul Rahman told The Associated Press. "If not, they are not qualified to be leaders."
    "He said help will be available for party members who do not know how to create a blog."

    I was almost able to read that with a straight face.

    This is like saying that everyone that wants a driver's license must have a cell phone. If not, they are not qualified to drive a vehicle.

    I understand that the party believes the internet to be a key factor in their elections, but what does one have to do with the other?

    George Bush doesn't have a bl . . . oh wait.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by TomRK1089 ( 1270906 )
      I suppose the idea is to increase openness, but really I'd expect this to simply turn into another PR outlet, regurgitating the same things as the media does anyways. But who knows? Maybe they'll have political podcasts for each candidate too (politicasts?) and a Twitter stream.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by wattrlz ( 1162603 )
        Perhaps the youth don't pay attention to the other PR outlets and one needs a blog if one is to reach them. One who can not reach the youth is not qualified to lead a country.
        • by schnikies79 ( 788746 ) on Tuesday April 15, 2008 @11:31AM (#23078062)
          If that is the case (which I seriously doubt it is), then the youth need to expand their horizons.

          The world doesn't bow to "you." You need to research and dig into the issues yourself and if one medium isn't providing the information you need, use multiple sources.
          • You've never dealt with children before, have you? I'm sure, if you have kids, you raise them to think and learn, and find things out for themselves, but that just makes them remarkable. But, even so, that's not really the issue. Generally speaking the onus is on the politicians to reach their target demographics and not the votes they needs to come to Them. If a one can't get votes then how are we to determine one is fit to lead?
          • If that is the case (which I seriously doubt it is), then the youth need to expand their horizons.

            In Malaysia they don't have many alternatives.

            All the TV stations are controlled by BN (the majority party). Likewise every English and Malay-language newspaper with any significant circulation. The party selects the editors, and fires them if they report any interesting news. The party's acquiescence is required in order to get a printing licence (yes, you really do need a licence to operate a printing press

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Otter ( 3800 )
          One who can not reach the youth is not qualified to lead a country.

          The people affected by this aren't running to lead Malaysia (and eventually be assaulted by Derek Zoolander). It's roughly equivalent to the Young Republicans or College Democrats adopting such a policy.

      • by baudilus ( 665036 ) on Tuesday April 15, 2008 @11:22AM (#23077954)
        From the second article:

        "Malaysia's mainstream media is tightly controlled by the government. Opposition leaders complain they did not get equal access to air time, in advance of the elections this month, while the ruling coalition of Prime Minster Abdullah Badawi spent millions of dollars on campaign ads."

        His party still lost their majority, and they believe it's because they didn't utilize the internet. I don't think it has anything to do with openness - it has to do with those in power wanting to stay in power.

        I just don't see why having a blog suddenly qualifies you as a leader - to make such a logical leap IMHO calls into question his own leadership abilities.
        • by Red Pointy Tail ( 127601 ) on Tuesday April 15, 2008 @12:25PM (#23078818)
          A correction: His party did not lose their majority. As of now, they lost their 2/3 majority which they have held for a very long time. The party still form government with simple majority, elects the Prime Minister, and can pass any law they wishes if voting enbloc.

          Why is the 2/3 so significant, considering in most matured democracy getting 60% itself is considered a landslide? There are a few reasons:

          - The ruling party is very dominant and had always held on to power since independence by large margins,

          - The ruling party affliated companies owns most mainstream media and controls it tightly, so even with rampant corruption and abuse of power, all these are surpressed and the opposition made to look like weak and ineffectual,

          - The last time the 2/3 majority was lost in 1969 - racial riots ensued, lots of people were killed, emergency rule was declared, and the government made a deal with an opposition splinter to join the coalition when parliament reconvened a few years later thus regaining the 2/3. So the government use this event (called the May 13 1969 riots) to scare and warn the populace: that to deny the ruling party 2/3 majority is to invite racial bloodshed again,

          - With 2/3 majority the government have made more than 160 amendments to the constitution as they liked and wish. A recent one was to extend the Election Commissioner's tenure even when he was supposed to step down (some allerge that this is so that he can be trusted to skew the results in the government's favour).

          - Internal politics within the ruling party is very intense with multiple 'camps', strong vested interest due to concentration of money and power, and ineffectual whips. Each camp is waiting to pounce to secure the crown of Prime Ministership.

          Despite all these, the ruling party still managed to lose the 2/3 majority even with tight control of mainstream media (who denounce the opposition mercilessly before the elections). The explanation most pundits agree is that for once, the younger people have internet access to alternative media exposes of all the many scandals that came to light in the past few years.

          This is a typical knee-jerk and panic reaction by the government that is bewildered and shaken that its tight grip on people's ears and eyes are loosening (it even got a Kafkesque Ministry of Information), and instead of cleaning up its act, feel like they must master the PR game that is now shifting to the internet.

          To which I say... good luck to them!
        • "I just don't see why having a blog suddenly qualifies you as a leader - to make such a logical leap IMHO calls into question his own leadership abilities."

          I think it's you who is making the logical leap.

          He said: "If not, they are not qualified to be leaders."

          !A -> !B, does not mean A -> B

          He considers having a blog merely a NECESSARY, but not necessarily SUFFICIENT requirement to be a leader.
  • by billtom ( 126004 ) on Tuesday April 15, 2008 @11:21AM (#23077934)
    I think that this is just a case where the term blog doesn't mean what it used to. In the past, a blog used to be a personal, fairly frequent journal. Now it just means any sort of at least semi-regular postings.

    I mean these days a company can take what they used to call their press release archive and call it a blog. Heck, by the current definition of the term, /. is a blog.

    So all this Malaysian thing has nothing to do with blogging (in the original sense of the word) gaining any mindshare. All that is is really saying is that Malaysian politicians are required to put their position papers and general propaganda online. Unfortunately, no serious politician, Malaysian or otherwise, is really going to put their unedited musings online.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by catxk ( 1086945 )

      Unfortunately, no serious politician, Malaysian or otherwise, is really going to put their unedited musings online.

      http://carlbildt.wordpress.com/ [wordpress.com]

      It's in Swedish, but in short it's the Swedish foreign minister's blog and it's written from a personal perspective on current foreign issues, international meetings, government meetings, etc.

      Of course it's not unedited (one might even doubt Bildt is the actual writer), but it's musing, highly democratic and extremely controversial.

    • Heck, by the current definition of the term, /. is a blog.

      The current definition? The first definition I heard for blog was "um, you know, like Slashdot."

      A semi-regularly updated online journal was always called a "diary" since the earliest days of the web. It's the commenting ability that defined a blog, although as you say the definition seems to keep changing, much to my annoyance. What these candidates are supposed to have sound more like just an official webpage to me.

    • Unfortunately, no serious politician, Malaysian or otherwise, is really going to put their unedited musings online.

      Jeff Ooi [jeffooi.com], Penang MP, has blogged regularly for many years and continues to do so. His political career started on his blog.

      And Lord, if he has an editor, they ought to be fired. I more or less like Jeff, but he posts some really incoherent, raving, and ill-informed rants sometimes. He runs the comments section like BN exercises the ISA - with swift and sometimes pre-emptive attacks on detrac

      • Other notables include: Lim Kit Siang [limkitsiang.com], the previous Opposition Leader, and Tony Pua [tonypua.com], as well as scores of Opposition members. The only BN Rep I know that had a blog was the MP for Subang Jaya, arguably one of the more tech-savvy districts in Malaysia. His blog was actually informative and less on the propaganda side. Jeff is an idiot, IMO, but he does have interesting posts.
        • by sean4u ( 981418 )

          Ahhh, Lim Kit Siang... For the Malaysian politician whose opinion I respect, the front page of his site always struck me as an unfortunate 'own goal'. An image declares 'Lim Kit Siang - for Malaysia', and the reader is invited to read his blog in one of two languages: English or Chinese. No mention of the official language of Malaysia.

          As for Teresa Kok [teresakok.com], titling her site 'Sassy MP' seems a little out of touch to me - wouldn't 'Hawt MP' be more contemporary?

  • While it sounds like a nice, if rather naive idea I seriously doubt if it will amount to anything more than another platform to promote "the message".

    Don't think for a minute that any of the candidates will actually ever sign-on and write content themselves - unless of course it's in the context of an on-line chat "ooooh, how trendy!". Even then they will have a full complement of spin-doctors examining every keystroke for nuance, mis-comprehension and sub-text.

    The basic problem all over the world is that

  • Turncoats (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    but now even youth deputy Khairy Jamaluddin - who once compared bloggers to monkeys living by the law of the jungle - has a blog
    This, sadly, tells you all you need to know about politicians.
  • All the candidates need to do is set up a cron task that will post at the following times:

    0800: Woke up and brush teeth
    0830: Eat breakfast
    1200: Eat lunch
    1800: Eat dinner
    2200: Sleep

    This way, they actually do have a blog entry!!!
    • This is Malaysia we are talking about.

      0930 Go to work
      1000 Wake up
      1030 Step out for nasi lemak before the stall shuts
      1200 Lunch
      1330 Ask for the bill
      1430 Go out for teh tarik
      1630 Stop working
      1830 Boss leaves the office
      1831 Stop surfing the web and chatting on IM and actually leave the office yourself
      2000 Arrive home after sitting in the jam on Old Klang Road for one hour
      2130 Dinner
      2300 Supper
      0245 Make a lot of noise to bother raju1kabir in the apartment below you
      0300 Go to sleep

  • We should follow this example, but rather than give politicians yet another outlet for the same tired talking points, we should require them all to post lolcats. Two a day, per candidate, or they're not qualified to be leaders.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is quite a funny blog by a Scottish local government councillor called Terry Kelly. http://councillorterrykelly.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] There are a few regular posters to his blog who bait him and he goes mental. The problem is he doesn't know when to stop and makes a complete fool of himself. There has been a counter blog about him setup called Terry Watch which 'organises' the baiting against him. http://terrywatch.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] Funny but sad that somebody so daft is in a position of authority.
  • This is actually a big step forward for the ruling coalition's big wigs. Until very recently, no one dares to openly criticise the Prime Minister or the high ranking ministers in the mainstream media or even in real life. The mainstream media, even the privately owned ones spew propaganda ala North Korea. During the previous Prime Ministers tenure, it even got to the level of Stalinisque personal cult. I once attended a university gathering in 1999 where a minister was openly criticised by a student. As a r
    • by sean4u ( 981418 )
      Yes, a big step. And that fellow who is often mentioned in the local media, got his name mentioned here today too! I was so surprised I almost soiled my keyboard. As an example of Malaysian politics today, he is without a doubt the finest. His column in the New Straits Times was instrumental in cementing my opinion of that publication. Reasonable people everywhere can only hope that the government will follow his example and guarantee the future they truly deserve. Gather your wits, UMNO youth, and show the
  • I'm from Malaysia. What the article doesn't say is that Jeff Ooi, a man known primarily for his political/social blogging, was elected into parliament. Numerous other newly-elected politicians from the opposition had blogs. The outcome of the elections was simply unprecendented in Malaysian history. Of course, the ruling party fails to grasp that it is not simply the fact that the opposition had blogs - it was mainly because the mainstream media were reduced to little more than government newsletters. Ever
    • Agreed, though the interactive nature of blogs doesn't work unless you want it to. I imagine:
      * comments on these "blogs" (if allowed at all) will be carefully moderated and perhaps simply fabricated
      * they'll also be able to modify and remove old posts if they want to dodge promises they made (though they will have to learn a lesson about the unforgetting nature of the internet). ...though it seems like many of the Malaysian pols spout plenty of nonsense already with no visible repercussions. Would a bit m

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