JOINT PRESS STATEMENT ON POLICE DETENTION OF BLOGGER BAKAQ
The National Alliance of Bloggers and the Centre for Policy Initiatives view with dismay the detention of another Blogger Bakaq (Abdul Rashid Abu Bakar) aka Penarik Beca, which indicates a worrying trend of the government's lack of commitment to open, public discourse. This latest detention followed the repeated police harassment of Malaysia Today editor and blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin before formally charging him with sedition and then defamation. As civil society members, we view such developments with great concern.
Bloggers in general have proven themselves useful in providing feedback to both the Government and Opposition on issues of national importance, and the Fifth Estate members do play a significant check-and-balance role in national affairs. This is well acknowledged by the opposition leaders and some in government.
The present administration must strictly adhere by and honour the Multi-Super Corridor (MSC) Bill of Guarantees conceptualised in 1996 which includes a provision that the government will not institute Internet censorship.
Any breach of the Bill of Guarantees will not only hamper the promotion of rational discourse using the Internet medium but also set back the government's efforts to draw in Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). More important, the government’s action will adversely affect international opinion on Malaysia’s commitment to basic freedoms.
We, the undersigned, therefore urge the authorities to immediately release Saudara Bakaq unconditionally, and that the government practises what it preaches about freedom of speech and the respect for human rights for all Malaysian citizens, whether they choose to agree with or beg to differ from the government's views and policies.
August 8, 2008
Interim President, National Alliance of Bloggers (AllBlogs)
Dr Lim Teck Ghee
Director, Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI)
And from cpiasia.net:
BLOGGERS SHOW SOLIDARITY
Written by Editor, CPI
Friday, 08 August 2008 17:46
BLOGGERS SHOW SOLIDARITY WITH BLOGGER "PENARIK BECA" WHO HAD BEEN DETAINED OVERNIGHT
Even as the news spread in blogosphere about fellow Blogger Bakaq's detention for alleged sedition, leading writers like rockybru and zorro have sprung into action to rally support for Bakaq Haq aka Penarik Beca. Fellow bloggers will pray for Bakaq's safety and as a Blogger myself, Desi knows in our hearts, solidarity gives the Fifth Estate practitioners a sense of brotherhood and bond no government harassment can break.
A blogger who goes by the name of "BUJAI" and hosts http://justread-whatever.blogspot.com/ said the detention of Bakaq Haq aka Penarik Beca known to be a "harmless" logger, and that if the government keeps on treating bloggers like a bunch of enemies, "may as well they take in editors, journalists and owners of many publications which we regard as 'extreme' or 'radical'".
Bujai was among many concerned readers who commented at rockybru's -- National Alliance of Bloggers Interim President Ahirudin Attan -- who was possibly the first to break the news yesterady about Bakaq's detention. Bujai said...
"i liken bloggers to that of the outspoken lot living in a big family. someone has to point out who is right and wrong, whether we like it or not. this blogger is harmless and didnt mean any harm. those with ears should make correction if such allegations is true, then walk on proper path again.
if the government keeps on treating bloggers like a bunch of enemies, may as well they take in editors, journalists and owners of many publications which we regard as 'extreme' or 'radical'.
although freedom of the press cannot really be applied (when it comes to inciting public uneasiness over religion and race), we deserve to speak for the truth. sometimes it hurts, alrite but letting any wrongdoings to go on without any check is even more dangerous to our stability.
Another blogger detained in Malaysia
By Ahirudin Attan aka rockybru
Thursday, August 07, 2008
The pro-PAS blogger Penarik Beca, or Bakaq to friends, was picked up by cops from his home in KL just before midnight yesterday.
They also took away his computer, I was told.
A group of bloggers will be at the CCID hq (the old PM's Department near Bank Negara) at 2pm to protest the detention.
Here in Singapore, news about blogger in Malaysia remains a subject that fascinates people. My prayers for Bakaq.
Meanwhile, Zainol Abideen aka mahaguru58 has a good pictorial update:
Bakaq's Arrest - Bloggers Gathering at Bukit Perdana.
Friday, August 08, 2008
(L to R) Mahaguru58, Nathaniel Tan, Black @ Amin Iskandar, Hasbullah Pit @ Sebol, Wan Joe @ Jiwo Kelate.
I was at Bukit Perdana this afternoon to show my support for Brother Bakaq. It was raining very heavily when I arrived.
I had to wait in my car as most of the parking lots were full and the heavy rain saw the lower areas flooded.
I was parked at the side of the Bank Negara KTM Station.
When the rain subsided a bit, I went driving looking for a parking lot and was lucky to get one close to the Bukit Perdana Complex.
I took out my umbrella and walked towards a group of people taking shelter at the bus stop nearby.
It was then that I realized that Nathaniel Tan was amongst them. I saw Hasbullah Pit @ Sebol who greeted me warmly. I was introduced to Black @ Amin Iskandar and Nora Reformasi, Bob and Wan Joe.
(L to R) Nathaniel Tan, Black, Sebol, Wan Joe, Bob @ Bakaq's Neighbour
Group photo of Bloggers who were there to show support and solidarity with the arrested Bakaq @ Penarik Beca.
There were several reporters there as well and everyone was generally very cordial and trying their best not to get wet!
I took out my camera and started shooting videos of the gathered bloggers and we had the reporters help tie up two impromptu banners that Black had brought with him.
I had sms'd Zorro asking him if he knew Nat's hp without knowing that I would be meeting Nat in person.
Bernard @ Zorro sms'd saying that he was in the Bank Negara Cafeteria.
So, we made our way there and met Zorro and Fisherman Wharf's Gus Gan.
(L to R) Gus Gan @ Fisherman's Wharf, Black @ Amin Iskandar, Bernard Khoo @ Zorro Unmasked, Hasbullah Pit @ Sebol.
I shot a video of the Bloggers speaking their minds about Bakaq's arrest and after coffee made our way back to the bus station.
Word came out that Bakaq was now at the Jalan Duta Courts where he was served with a remand order and going to be held in custody overnight pending being charged in court.
I spoke to Bakaq's wife by phone and learned from her that he was alright. He is going to be in the lockup tonight. She said that the police told her that someone had lodged a police report against him ; that's why the police are investigating him?
I learned from the feedback that Bakaq stepped on a lot of toes @ pissed off PAS and UMNO top leadership in his disclosure of ultra secret PAS-UMNO pow wow's.
His disclosure sought of let the cat out of the bag and spoiled those people's plans.
Hence the police report and the resulting arrest under sedition.
Which particular article?
That's it for now. Let's see what takes place tomorrow?
And another commenter at Rocky's post, CT Choo, said:
I hope the bloggers will unite to protect penarik beca from beinh unjustly treated. When will UMNO-BN learn that such police-state actions only make them more unpopular than ever. I am saddened by this and, I am praying for the well-being of our fellow blogger."
~~ Consolidated report by YL Chong, Editor, CPI