Research on Malaysian Bloggers

The Survey for Blog Readers and Bloggers is closed. Thanks for your participation!

Friday, December 29, 2006

The survey ends tomorrow

The survey for Malaysian blog readers and bloggers ends tomorrow, at 23:59, 30 Dec 2006.

Do participate if you haven't yet!

Click for the English Version / Versi Bahasa Malaysia.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Patriotism through blogs

2005 - Kempen belog dalam BM - initiated by Vincent Lau. 72 bloggers blogged in Malay in the spirit of National Day.

2006 - Project Happy Malaysia - initiated by Vincent Lau. The theme was "heart warming stories about Malaysia". 40 bloggers contributed their stories.

2007 - 50 Posts to Independence - initiated by Nizam Bashir. The idea is to tag one blogger who will tag the next, to post an entry on "anything that makes Malaysia special to that person". A total of 50 bloggers will be tagged in sequence. Each blogger has up to 7 days to make a post. To date, 13 bloggers have contributed, as kept track by Sharizal.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006 - The blog for Malaysian Activists

I have found a blog on Malaysian civil society movements. At, Malaysian NGOs get to post their events on a common platform. Indeed, according to the About page, the site caters to the general public as audiences, and activist organizations as propagators.

For the general public, this site will hopefully offer an easy way for anyone interested to see what various civil society organizations are saying and working on in Malaysia. For activist organizations, was set up to be an additional platform and medium for getting their various messages across.

I have yet to find the list of organizations participating in this blog, but at first glance, the blog houses a number of prominent NGOs, such as:
Areas of interest are categorized by category, ranging from civil liberties to environment. They even have job postings from various NGOs. is a relatively new blog, commenced from October 2006. It is maintained by Nathaniel Tan. I believe that it is a great initiative, if this blog is well-publicized and establishes itself as the hub of NGOs and the blog to turn to when one wants to know the latest activities of Malaysian activist groups. It can also become the common platform for NGOs to combine their activities and supporter base to create a louder voice.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Malay version of the survey is out!

You can access it here. I am planning to publicize it in the Malay blogosphere.

Rushing out for an interview with A. Kadir Jasin.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Survey dalam Bahasa Malaysia

The Malay version is out! Managed to translate it with the help of two of my classmates, Nor Azmi and Noorun.

I haven't launched it into my3q yet, but here it is in Microsoft Word. Comments are appreciated!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Research Updates /All BN MPs have blogs?

I was busy for the past two days attending the conference on "Shaping Public Opinion in a Changing Media Environment" at Crown Princess Hotel. It was a truly big event, as illustrated comprehensively in Jeff's latest post on "Why fight Internet as an outsider?" covering the profiles of those who came.

The event was a great networking opportunity, as I snapped up 3 interviews with A. Kadir Jasin, Teresa Kok and Steven Gan, Malaysiakini's editor. This neatly sums up my interviewee count to 10. Prof Wan Zawawi, my thesis supervisor, also strongly recommended an interview with Rustam A. Sani, a revered academician - so I will probably call him too.

Latest survey respondent count: 360. Tony Pua whom I met again in the conference suggested a Malay version of the survey to reach out to Malay bloggers and blog readers, so I will probably be working on that very soon.

Lastly, here's one bit of information for you to chew on - at the conference today, Session 5, Politicians Who (Are Not Shy To) Blog (speakers are MP of DAP, Teresa Kok, and MP of UMNO, Ir. Hj Hamim bin Hj Samuri), Hamim said that all BN MPs have their own blog, in the BNBBC website. Incidentally, Teresa who spoke before Hamim had quipped that, "Not all bloggers blog".

I would love to go through the BNBBC blogs but unfortunately the site is down. There is a note saying that the website would be up by 6th of December. Hamim provided statistics that the BNBBC site gets 500,000 hits per month (which works out to about 16,666 hits per day).

The conference was very interesting with many lively debates, as well as a list of recommendations to be submitted to the government. However, the conference ended on somewhat an anticlimax when Assoc. Prof Zaharom Nain from USM asked the conference organizer how the recommendations would be conveyed, by whom, to whom, and through what channels. The spokesperson was rather vague in his answer and said "we can't promise anything".

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Malaysia to register bloggers as well?

This is probably old news to some, but I'm going to put it here for archiving purposes anyway. One day after the previous post on China planning to register its bloggers, The Star (3 Dec 2006) reports:

"Cyber law mulled to block lies in blogs"
by Hah Foong Lian

SITIAWAN: Registering bloggers may be a “stricter” way to stop cyberspace writers from spreading disharmony and lies.

Acknowledging that the registration of bloggers was a difficult task, Deputy Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Kong Cho Ha said that it needed the cooperation of other countries.

Kong said: “We need to have stricter cyber laws to prevent these bloggers from disseminating disharmony, chaos, seditious material and lies.

“We are talking about creating cyber laws to control those who misuse the Internet,” he added.

Kong noted that the high number of bloggers in the country was a good development if they used the Internet constructively.

However, he said, some of them would put up sensational or controversial articles or images to attract readers to their blogs.

“We want our bloggers to be responsible, to keep within the rules and not put up seditious articles that can create disharmony and chaos,” he said.

Citing the example of the recent picture of Gombak MP Datuk Dr Rahman Ismail and Senator Datin Paduka Norhayati Onn, Kong said it reflected the irresponsible acts of some bloggers.

“Now we have cyber laws to check such misuse but the laws need to change to keep up with the times.

“This is because technology changes faster than our laws,” he said yesterday after opening the inaugural computer fair at Dewan Merdeka in Seri Manjung, near here.

The fair was organised by the Association of the Computer and Multimedia Industry of Malaysia (Pikom).

I have already put up my simple arguments on why it is illogical for the government to register bloggers under the guise of protecting privacy and rights. MoSTI is taking a slightly different tune on stopping "the spread of disharmony and lies", but it is essentially operating on the same vein. The government feigns to be protective but what it is really trying to do is to expand its control upon the cyber space. It is interesting to look at bloggers posting on the issue.

Vincent Chow points out that it is a "mission impossible". It is impossible for the government to track every blog "unless all Malaysian bloggers are using the same and only blog platform, host and system".

Whatalulu foresaw the copy-cat situation and figured that bloggers would be found via their digital trails anyway, so there is no point dodging the registration. Lively discussion is going on within her comment box, on violation of privacy and how people will still be able to avoid digital trails if they want to.

Astrosurge was visibly angry over how the government's need for control.

Raja Petra of MalaysiaToday simply quoted the news and the discussion started rolling. Thus far there has been 33 comments.

Chanlilian remarked: "The only party that needs to keep up with the times are those who preach Vision 2020 but live in the tempurung and hoping others do too."

SKThew highlights the concern and an article from Reporters without Borders.

Tony Pua turns the tables and says instead, "If a blogger has committed a real crime, such as defamation through the spread of lies, take him to court and prove the case. If the blogger has committed no such crime when exposing unpleasant truths with regards to government or BN officials, Deputy Minister Kong should instead "be responsible", "have ethics and self-respect" by not insinuating serious allegations and spreading lies with regards to the integrity of the relevant blogger."

My take? Well, this is an obvious strategy of the government trying to work around its promise of non-censorship of the Internet, to try pressuring it into self-censorship. However, as highlighted by Vincent Chow, it will be no easy feat. The worst case scenario for the government is that not only will it put itself in a bad light, it may not succeed in its endeavour (which will be a double whammy). There is also a possibility that they are just saying that as a warning to outspoken bloggers out there, but do not actually intend to take any action.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

China's Real Name System for Bloggers

According to The Star (1 December 2006), Pg W53 - China is looking into adopting a real-name system, where people will be required to submit their real name and IC number when they register for services like "blogs or BBS account".

Netizens will be able to continue choosing their own online name, and as long as they do not violate laws their personal information will remain private and safe.

The first area for a real name application will be blogs, a popular form of Internet-based diary.

The reason?

Blogs have been used by some people to infringe upon other people's privacy and rights. For example, an infamous TV host had thousands of netizens visit her blog just because she wrote an article about a well-known TV anchor's marriage history, which included some allegedly false information.

As a blogger's real name is unknown, it is very difficult to safeguard privacy and rights.

A blog research panel, under the Ministry of Information Industry, will "provide solutions for the development of China's blog industry." Yang Junzuo, secretary-general of the ISC's self-discipline working commission, was quoted by Beijing-based China Times a month ago as saying the real name system is the solution.

As far as I can reason, the argument by the Chinese government does not hold water, as the example given does not look like a common occurrence. Under the assumption that such cases are relatively few, information forensics personnel can handle the cases without the need of implementing such a large scale operation of "registering" all the bloggers.

The guise of "protecting privacy and rights" is somewhat ironical, as the Chinese government is not known for its record for that, as evident from this open letter to appeal for the release of 54 Chinese citizens for "expressing and exchanging opinions over the Internet". Check also this article on Freedom of Expression, Speech and the Press in the context of China. These are just the top two articles when I google "freedom of speech in china". Feel free to browse through for more.

The real name system is going to have China's bloggers trussed up, worse than ever before. If the excuse is to protect privacy and rights, putting all the names into one database accessible to the government is the worst violation of privacy of all.