Tun Dr. Mahathir’s ‘voice’ acknowledged by MSM

 

Bloggers’ voices, especially on socio-political issues, are gaining more prominence in shaping the Malaysian mind and opinion. This alternative media now found an exponential growth position amongst the news addict internet savvy, mostly amongst the professionals and younger generations.

 

Malay Mail has decided to acknowledge this new phenomenon.


 

The blogger who managed to be on the top spot is neither a journalist, professional nor a media celebrity, although he has been writing a few notable hard copies which became reference to many. Somehow, the award goes to an 83 year old Statesman. Fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysian most progressive blogger was picked out the winner.


 

The Malay Mail has the story:

Voices that count

By MASAMI MUSTAZA     March 05, 2009      Categories: News

Recipients of the Malay Mail Your Voice of the Year 2008 award took centrestage at the Sime Darby Convention Centre yesterday.

The ceremony was attended by some 60 guests, including the award’s judges, Transparency International Malaysia president Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, Malay Mail director P.C. Shivdas, editor- in-chief Tony Francis, editor Yushaimi Yahaya and the winners and honorees.

The winning award went to Malaysian bloggers, represented by Sufi Yusof, Press secretary to former Prime Minister and blogger Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The nine other honorees were squash queen Datuk Nicol David, Melbourne Cup winning racehorse owner Datuk Tan Chin Nam, lawyer Derek Fernandez, ChowKids director Dr Hartini Zainuddin, Fallen Leaves Theatre Company, Armed Forces retirees rights activist Lt-Kol (Rtd) Idris Hassan, Malaysian voters, Medan Damansara residents, and prolific blood donor T. Sahadevan.

Navaratnam was pleased with the overwhelming response given to the inaugural Your Voice of the Year award.

“I never expected this concept to be popular because for the longest time, the public has long contented themselves to be the silent majority. However, we can see that a shift is happening.

“From the silent majority, they are moving towards becoming the articulate majority. No democracy can be effective if there are no active, articulate people standing up to let their voices be heard.

“I hope that the culmination of this award will encourage more activism among the people that will help our young democracy mature.”

Yushaimi said the award would be an annual affair and he hoped that it would be expanded to include more voices in other areas.

“We are mulling the idea of adding more categories to the award, such as Best Local Council and Best NGO.

Malay Mail hopes that our readers will help bring to our attention those who fit the bill as the people’s voice,” he said.

For three weeks, from last Dec 7, readers were asked to send in their nominations for those they felt were most deserving of the accolade Your Voice of The Year 2008. After sifting through the nominations, 10 persons/groups were shortlisted.

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Tun Dr. Mahathir started blogging because of frustration against the mainstream media (MSM), which have denied his ‘voice’ and thoughts to be aired for public consumption. A lot of his points were watered down and misquoted. Existing bloggers aspire him to venture into this electronic medium.

He managed to place his prominence way above journalists and writers who have gone into the cybermedia as their medium to say their thoughts.  Even though many news addict internet savvy Malaysians, who could be profiled as ‘interested in politics’ and roam from blogs-to-blogs (some even hogging on the comments) seemed to be pro-Opposition or anti-BN, it is not Ketuanan Rakyat Leaders like  party-less Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim gets the attention. The attention these leaders who sensationalise anything and everything, by manipulating facts and situations probably get temporary positioning. Some bloggers even made it as elected representatives, like Jeff Ooi, Tony Pua and Elizabeth Wong.

This is something in general all internet savvy and alternative media addicts should  pay attention at. No matter how these Opposition Leaders felt that they are gaining the attention and support of the majority, the reality is actually pointing the other way. It ihas been illustrated that in the medium to long term, Malaysians are not too confident with the Oppositions to go far and of course, their ability to throw anything and everything to anyone, in their greed to gain power. 8 March 2008 General Elections showed they have managed to place themselves on the political map, mainly due to so many showing their dismay against PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s incredibly poor leadership and scandal involving family and cronies. But, that was before chedet.com, which came in May 2008.

Till present, Tun Dr. Mahathir’s blog managed to attract 15 million visitors, of which 5 million alone since it migrated to chedet.cc. Despite being ‘dry’ (unlike Opposition blogs with flairs like former  abuse-of-power convict Anwar, Raja Petra’s Malaysia Today, Harakah Online and Lim Kit Siang’s, which are deemed slanderous and viscous, now starting to lose ‘market share’), the readership and fan is actually growing. Some, like Malaysia Today lost a lot of its credibility, thus losing support and its ability to change opinion despite being credited to the change of mindset pre-12 GE.

How and where this new alternative media will go amongst Malaysians is an interesting development that should be followed closely.  Technology will play a lot of role in the growth and potential of socio-political blogs. Of course, safely can be said that more Malaysians would want to hear more of Tun Dr. Mahathir’s thoughts.

Published in: on March 5, 2009 at 17:59  Comments (6)