“Bloggers are VIPs”

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“Bloggers are VIPs”. That was what Fourth Prime Minister, turned Malaysia’s most progressive blogger Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said today at B.U.M. 2009 “Bloggers need to behave”.

He agreed some sort of code of ethics is appropriate. Bloggers need to uphold their integrity, as providing views of the people.

“We should not victimise our target. As how we hate it to be victimised, ourselves”. Tun Dr. Mahathir was vehemently against bloggers who made up or skewed stories instead of dicussing the facts.

He said that in the context how he started blogging. As a politician in Government for almost 30 years, hew as used to the attention of the mainstream media. Somehow, when he retired, mainstream media eventually ‘refused’ to publish his thoughts and comments, which was systematically ‘blocked’. Of course, he was a strong critic of PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s administration.

His skepticsm was whether he could entertain all the comments made. He finally overcame the ‘mental block’, much with encouragement of noted bloggers at the time.

So he started blogging. And his blog became a sensational hit instantly, in the Malaysian bloggsophere scene. Especially amongst the SOPO surfers. Within less than 15 days, it hit its first million. Now, with commenters from all over the world, chedet.cc has had almost nineteen million visitors.

Many people the manner Tun Dr. Mahathir articulate onmuch complicated issues are made into very simple language and angle to understand. His intepretations of history is also refreshing.

Rocky, who was the founding pro-tem President of All-Blogs and now National Press Club President for the second round, noted that Tun Dr. Mahathir was the first Malaysian leader that gave bloggers the respect during the Perdana Global Peace Forum on ‘Criminalising War’, February 2007. The blogs carried various angles to expand the message of the forum.

Published in: on May 16, 2009 at 21:17  Comments (9)  

Recapture of Mas Selamat: Malaysia should capitalise and ask for a straight bridge

The most wanted man in Singapore, Mas Selamat Kastari, who had been a fugitive since 27 February 2008 for the freak escape from Whitley Road Detention Centre was apprehended recently in Skudai, Johor. The Jemaah Islamiah (JI) operative has been in hiding in Malaysia since his daring escape and swam across the Johor Straits for find refuge here.

The Channel News Asia has the story:

 

 
 

Mas Selamat’s re-arrest not the end of Singapore’s problem

By Cheryl Lim, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 09 May 2009 1851 hrs  

   
   
   
   

SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said Singapore’s security challenge is to keep up its guard without getting fatigued or complacent.

In his first remarks on the capture of Mas Selamat Kastari, Mr Lee said Singapore must not think that the re-arrest of the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) leader is the end of its problem.

He said the terrorism situation in Southeast Asia is under control, but the threat is far from over. He added that the price of security is eternal vigilance.

In a statement to the media on Saturday, the Prime Minister also said information about the capture of Mas Selamat on April 1 was not made public earlier because of a prior agreement with the Malaysian authorities.

Mr Lee said he was told about the arrest by his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak on April 11 during an impromptu four-eye lunch in Thailand’s Pattaya after the ASEAN meeting was called off due to demonstrations.

He thanked Datuk Seri Najib for Malaysia’s generous support and help, and told him Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Wong Kan Seng had earlier told him of the arrest.

Mr Lee said he was happy and relieved that Mas Selamat had been found and arrested before he could do any harm.

But Malaysia had asked Singapore to keep this information quiet for the time being, so Singapore respected this and held the information very tightly in order not to jeopardise the operation.

However, on the afternoon of May 7 during a weekly pre-Cabinet meeting lunch, Mr Wong received a phone call informing him that the Internal Security Department (ISD) had received a request from the The Straits Times to confirm a scoop that Mas Selamat had been arrested by the Malaysian authorities.

As the news had leaked, the Singapore government had no choice but to confirm the story.

Ministers who were present at the lunch were completely taken by surprise when Mr Wong told them that Mas Selamat had been arrested.

In his statement, Mr Lee also thanked all officers involved in tracking down Mas Selamat over the past year. He said he never had a doubt that Mas Selamat would be found because he knew the quality and commitment of the ISD officers working on this.

He said the ISD had recovered quickly from the mistakes which led to Mas Selamat’s escape from the Whitley Road Detention Centre in February last year.

Mr Lee also thanked the ISD and its Malaysian counterpart, the Special Branch, for working closely together.

– CNA/ir

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Since the capture by an operations lead by the Bukit Aman Special Branch, Mas Selamat is now being held in Malaysia under the Internal Securities Act (ISA).

According to Singaporean authorities, the success of capturing Mas Selamat was a joint concerted effort by Malaysian, Singaporean and Indonesian security and intelligence agencies. Singaporean Prime Minister Brig. Gen. (NS) Lee Hsien Loong will discuss with Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak when the latter is coming for a courtesy call on 21 May.

Another story from Channel news Asia:

PM Lee, Najib to discuss Mas Selamat arrest next week

By Channel NewsAsia’s Malaysia Bureau Chief Melissa Goh | Posted: 13 May 2009 2138 hrs

   
   
   
   

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is expected to discuss the arrest of terror suspect Mas Selamat Kastari when he meets Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong next week.

Mr Najib, who was sworn in early last month, is scheduled to be in Singapore for an introductory visit from May 21-22.

Speaking at his office in Putrajaya, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein declined to say if Malaysia will hand over the terror suspect to Singapore.

The 48-year-old terrorist escaped from Singapore’s detention centre last year.

Mr Hishammuddin reiterated that the arrest of Mas Selamat – who escaped detention three times – would not have been possible without the cooperation of intelligence services from Singapore and Indonesia.

He said the Malaysian Cabinet has also approved the setting up of an Aseanapol permanent secretariat. To be based in Kuala Lumpur, the office will allow the intelligence agencies of ASEAN members to cooperate and share resources to better fight crime as well as terrorism.

Mr Hishammuddin said: “For instance, one recent issue relating to Mas Selamat – it involves three countries. If there was no cooperation between the three, it will not lead to the arrest of the person concerned.”

– CNA/ir

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This is a very good opportunity for the two leaders to discuss issues stalled between the two closest nations in the world. One of the issue which PM Dato’ Seri Najib should capitalize in this visit is the Bridge Replacing Johor Causeway.

Dato’ Seri Najib should now use the ‘brownie points’ from the success of recapturing Mas Selamat as an important bargaining chip. Singapore, which has been under ‘seize mentality’ and more chronic after the daring escape of Mas Selamat’, where they went into a ‘state of paranoia’.

The ‘state of paranoia’ only demonstrate how insecure the Singaporeans are, especially with JI terrorists looming actively in the region and the Singaporeans policies on and for the United States and Israel. The past eight years, many untoward and brutal incidences in Indonesia and the Phillipines have been blamed to the JI, which include kidnapping, execution and bombings.

It is expected since the recapture of Mas Selamat, other JI cells around the region would now be reactivated. And obviously, Singapore would be a ‘favourite’ target. Especially with many American interests based in the city state and the global financial meltdown already hit Singapore and beginning to show its effect. Singapore is not in a position to see American and West European investments pulled out and relocated elsewhere, due to psychologically damaging ‘security’ issues.

Hence, Singaporean authorities would definitely need closer co-operation with the Malaysian authorities, to ensure the security is intact and psychological effect on their own citizens and expatriates is good and uplifting. The fact that Mas Selamat managed to escape from Whitley’s and went on undetected to cross the border, demonstrate that the Singaporean security services, so-called highly trained and after deploying the latest surveillance technology,  is not that good after all.

This is despite the recent acquisition of strategic and offensive weapons that the Singaporean Armed Forces (SAF), now in the process of delivery. Lately, SAF acquired the F15 ST multirole fighters, AH 64 Longbow D attack helicopters (both from the US) and Leopard III main battle tanks (from Germany), on top billion SG dollars spending on sensors, surveillance and ICT technology. Singapore Technologies also developing their Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), for surveillance purposes. With the alarming military buildup, it shows that the apparent threat Singapore is facing is actually terrorism in nature and not conventional warfare.

Singaporeans, claimed the 6% GDP, which is almost SG $ 12 billion annual spending on millitary as to provide ‘comfort for their citizens and investments’. Hence, they felt that the acquisition of strategic and offensive military assets, for the purpose of ‘defense’ is justified. Some analysts in the region see this trend as ‘worrying’ and reflective of the ‘kiasu’ness of what Singaporeans are noted for.

For the benefit of Singaporeans, it is now much better for them to be less ‘kiasu’ and adopt a more ‘accommodating’ attitude, especially with neighbours like Malaysia. They should work hard to ensure that their neighbours, who are of the Nusantara stock and noted for their selfless-ness, are treated as how close friends should be. A co-operation to build a straight bridge replacing the Johor Causeway is a good illustration of that dis-kiasu attitude, as the effort should promote better commerce, communications and social relationships between nations used to be ‘brothers and sisters’.

As they say, carpe diem. This is the perfect opportunity to seize the moment. The shortchanges should stop and tide turned into Malaysia’s favour.

Published in: on May 16, 2009 at 11:44  Comments (16)