View Full Version : Freedom of speech... my foot.

20-04-2003, 10:35 AM
<font size="+1">I am transfering a thread on SARS Update to here as the topic of Freedom of Speech was discussed in a context not just restricted to the epidemic.

For contextual purposes, I repost:</font>

Admittedly, this is what I said:

1. That everyone should have the freedom of speech, in this Forum and in the country in general.

2. This freedom of speech comes with a responsibility.

Admittedly, this is what PC Yeoh said:

let us just cut out the crap about freedom of speech idealism and remove what he has posted. We know it is not even substantiated and you think that person did it with responsibility. Bullsh*t.

Admittedly, this is what KW Chang siad:

Administrator's Note:
Due to the serious nature of such messages, we advise the reader to be aware that this should be taken as a rumour or hoax unless supported by hard evidence. Please read the postings below to see our point of argument. We are leaving this posting in its original form as an educational reminder of believing anything posted to the web.

Put the three together, we effectively helped shape three norms in web forum bahavorial patterns, which I conveniently call THE THREE CLAUSES, as below:
<ol><li>We shall continue to practise Freedom of Speech in this Web Forum
<li>Because of Clause ( 1 ), we shall tolerate all views including people who talk about <u>crap</u> and <u>bullsh*t</u></li>
<li> Because of Clause ( 1 ) and Clause ( 2 ), we shall leave these postings in their original forms - (a) unsubstantiated claims and rumours (b) Crappy and bullsh*tty semantics (c) education reminder on web postings - as a long-term education reminder on positive use of Internet.</li></ol>

This, admittedly again, will allow people from Clause (2) to continue to use Clause (1) to perpetrate Clause (2) so that we all can benefit in relation to Clause ( 3 ).

Which, incidentally, is what Internet and K-society is all about.

By the way, could it be one's mind being crappy and bullsh*tty that causes his/her blurred vision and failure to see things in the intended context vis-a-vis our perspective about the opening posting message in this thread:

But we cannot be seen as spreading unsubstantiated information that may cause public disorder and irreversible damages to the alleged parties and organisations..

This can, and has before, invited criminal prosecution by the Laws.

So far, we have not received any official confirmation of claims stated in the first posting in this thread.

We don't want to be too pushy on a new comer to this Forum and scare him away. We give him/her enough latitude so that we will produce one more positive-minded Internetizen.

Let's inspire, don't gag.

Lastly, YOU be the judge.

The original thread was archived here:

20-04-2003, 10:56 AM
Today's NEW SUNDAY TIMES carries columnist Loong Ceasar's discussion on FREEDON OF SPEECH vis-a-vis Vision 2020.

The writer is a partner in a Malaysian international law firm and can be contacted at caesar@raslanloong.com

I thought it is relevant to Subang Jaya community to which Malaysia look up as a demonstrator for Knowledge Society.

* * *

Sunday, April 20, 2003

Weekend Guest:
<font size="+1">Freedom of speech necessary for Malaysian society to be progressive</font>
Loong Caesar

April 20: THERE are many things we want to achieve as a nation by the year 2020. One of these is to be “a society that is progressive”.

This objective is stated in the official formulation of Malaysia's Vision 2020.

Vision 2020 also identifies the key challenges that we face as a nation, one of which is "fostering and developing a mature democratic society, practising a form of mature consensual, community oriented Malaysian democracy".

When presenting the Vision 2020 Working Paper, the Prime Minister made clear that it was not sufficient that Malaysia should only be developed in the economic sense. A higher objective had to be realised.

Given that there are only 17 years to 2020, one is inclined to ask how much of this Vision we have achieved and whether we have moved towards that goal in a measurable way? In my mind "progressiveness" seems to be central to how we achieve Vision 2020.

This is because it requires a change in mindsets and attitudes that would bring about all the other aspirations in the Vision, including a mature democracy, ethnic integration, a tolerant society, a confident society, a society that is innovative, forward looking, etc, etc.


We could, therefore, assess progressiveness by identifying their attitudes and by asking questions such as: Are our leaders tolerant? Are they small minded? Are they open to criticism or defensive in reacting to opposing ideas? And so on.

The answers we discover should give us an indication of where we stand vis-a-vis Vision 2020 and what more needs to be done to get there.

A principle that is fundamental in a democratic society and essential to our realisation of Vision 2020 is the <u>principle that people in public office be open to public scrutiny and attack</u>.

As such they must accept that they will be criticised and judged, whether rightly or wrongly. It is a hazard that comes with the job.

We cannot be a confident society if our leaders are insecure with what people have to say about them.

It is not their prerogative to accept only sanitised comments or to demand that criticism be delivered with kid gloves.

Another corollary of this is that public officers — whether politicians or office bearers in the Bar Council — serve the public and not the other way around.

With their authority comes a duty to respect and entertain the concerns of those they represent.

Public officers fail in their duties when they endeavour to discourage criticism or insist that views can only be expressed in certain ways. <u>These are traits of dictators, not those of progressive leaders</u>.

Progressive attitudes are closely linked to our tolerance of free expression.


In other words, it defeats the objectives of free speech if we insist on factual accuracy all the time.

The constitutional right to free expression allows for laxity in a mature society.


There is a good reason why a broad-based approach to governance is essential to progressiveness. All members of society have their own unique experiences that give them insights that can help contribute to the long-term interest of the nation, or in my case, the legal profession.

This diversity creates new ideas and knowledge that achieves the innovative and forward looking society that our Prime Minister described.

... I, for one, have seen changes, trends and developments that trouble me and I am entitled to share these concerns with others.

My views will not always coincide with those who believe that <u>given their official position they are the sole arbiters of what is right and wrong</u>.

But these views, together with those of others, add to the diversity that give society and government its depth and dynamism.

If we discourage this diversity we encourage despotism and parochialism and do not move towards progressiveness.

Public bodies must also accept that in a democratic society public expression will not always be what they want to hear. Views should be expressed on a wide number of issues and in a variety of ways.

This is what a vibrant democracy and a progressive society should be about — the broad based expression of ideas in all forms, not just the officially sanctioned views of a few — even if they may happen to be the elected few.

In the final analysis, progressiveness cannot be shown by claiming great achievements. These achievements come to naught when leaders are intolerant of new ideas or criticism.

If public figures want to be perceived as progressive, they must take criticism in stride and accept views not always shared by them. They must encourage and allow debate no matter how unflattering to themselves.

Least of all they should not be defensive. This is the true measure of progressiveness.

Only with this comes the mature, broad-based democracy and progressive society that our Prime Minister spoke of.


21-04-2003, 02:06 AM
i am 100% for freedom of speech.

anybody who suggests news/information should be censored or kept from the ppl must think we are pretty stupid and not able to digest information properly, throw out what is wrong and learn from what is right.

and this choice about what the ppl should know/read/see..... how do we really know the censorship is taking place for our benefit, and not the government's/ majority power's alone?

best to let it all out and have us individually decide.


22-04-2003, 08:28 AM
The best defense is attack.

Least of all they should not be defensive. This is the true measure of progressiveness.
Q : do u feel that ur environment is littered with liberal wild fire and shooting of blanks by the critical components of most machinery? its hard 4 me to equate such creatures with homo sapiens. if pontius pilate were still alive, he'd have his hands full competing for the cleanest hand wash.

If public figures want to be perceived as progressive, they must take criticism in stride and accept views not always shared by them. They must encourage and allow debate no
matter how unflattering to themselves.
more than swallowing pride, they should refrain from running down the ppl and comments and ideas that diverge from their or the official version. i know we r talking freedom of speech and they too have their right, but a level playing field is mandatory in the game. especially when media informaiton is ocntrolled and at times contorted. and defamation and libel cases sometimes end with an arsenal of explosives for legal debate. after all there is such a misdemeanour called occupation risk.

my three minutes worth ...

22-04-2003, 08:39 AM
in my 3 min haste, i forgot ...

the snipping of the censorship board, the banning of publications, the restriction in circulaiton of editorials (even cyberspace!), the banning of public rallies, the need to obtain permit for political (and even ngo) functions, control over the erection of places of worship, ... r we over stretching the cling wrap covering freedom of speech?

as i have posted earlier, what will come after the bup kudus is terminated?

honestly, i do not fear the lack of freedom of speech much as i dread the lack of freedom after speech. nay, not with the omnipresence of uncle isa and uncler osa, their eagle's eyes and eager cuffs ...

22-04-2003, 08:40 AM
i do agree with a lot of your points joker.

but several things i want to note. firstly, if a public official gets to office, it is to be expected that he's going to dodge bad comments and stand up for himself. how low one would stoop is another question.

while you say the best defence is attack, i believe the best defence is knowledge. it's also a powerful tool.

there's no use flogging a dead horse - you can "attack" with all your strength and might, it's not going to get up and gallop for you.

best to get smart and stay smart. then the administration will know we expect better. to keep us happy, let's hope they'll give us better.

if not, we get smarter.

and the beat goes on.

as for censorship, i'm 100% against it, unless the documents can be classified of national security. in those cases they should be made public after 20 years. thus if there's a cover up, the politicians will live in shame long after retirement as will their offspring. that's a pretty good safeguard i should think to prevent abuse.

but political rallies do need permits. (that should be issued regardless of the political party, so long as safe rules are practiced)

safety is one good reason why this should take place - safety of the citizens (who can ensure ppl dont get on the streets and riot at will) and those who wish to partake in rallies. the police would be able to coordinate and organise safely what goes on if permission were sought in the first place.

thus if there's a bunch of hooligans on the street promoting osama bin laden whilst they pelt moving cars and buildings with stones, and they don't have a "riot permit", the FRU can come in and give them some personal encouragement.

but my general opinion - we need more outlets to speak and be heard. the political freedom we have in malaysia needs expansion.