Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mlalaysian Bloggers - Quest to be MPs & Assemblymen in Coming 12th General Election on 8th March 08; Scandals, Sex, murder & corruption in campaign

ABOVE: Feb 28 08- Jeff Ooi at a ceremah at Bukit Benderah and BELOW: In action, slapping himself for being so stupid. "Ten years ago, I was so stupid! I voted Barisan Nasional - so stupid!" the blogger-cum-politician exclaimed, smacking himself on the cheek

Apart from the 3 more famous Bloggers seeking election into Parliament mentioned in the Reuters report, there are also another two bloggers seeking election into the State
. If they can capture any seat they would be making history and redeem the name of "bloggers" which have been under attack for sometime now.
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Feb 26, 2008

Bloggers test their popularity in M'sia election

KUALA LUMPUR - THE Internet is changing the face of Malaysian politics, becoming a virtual political party of its own as the country gears up for elections next month. Three high-profile bloggers, all opponents of the ruling coalition which has effectively governed for five decades, are standing for the first time as candidates on March 8, hoping that their popularity on the Net will translate into votes.

: Jeff Ooi will be standing for the P 50 Jelutong seat in Penang. Jeff will be facing Gerakan's Dr Thor Teong Gee and independent candidate Badrul Zaman. BELOW: At launch of hs Book I- witness

'Everyone of us has a stake in the country's future, but talk is cheap. We now need to walk the walk,' says Mr Jeff Ooi, a well-known blogger contesting a seat in northern Penang state for the opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP). A 52-year-old former advertising copywriter, he has made his name writing a political blog, Screenshots (, one of dozens that have found an active readership outside the pro-government mainstream press.

Watch Jeff in Action Video Clip (3min) with Rebuttal from Koh Tsu Koon

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Koh Tsu Koon asking Jeff to visit the factories first

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BLOGGER Jeff Ooi, 52, may be contesting in his first general election, but he’s far more well-known than more seasoned politicians. MyPaper_080227.jpgIn fact, the opposition Democratic Action Party candidate and former business intelligence analyst is expected to win the Jelutong seat in Penang comfortably on March 8 and make Malaysian history as the first blogger to become an MP.

my paper spoke to Mr Ooi in Penang yesterday after the launch of his first book, i-Witness, to raise funds for his campaign.

Hi Jeff, 10 days to go to the polls. Any regrets?
No regrets. A man, I mean a blogger, has got to do what he has to do.

You quit Gerakan to join the DAP last year. What made you?
I despise Barisan Nasional’s (BN) race-based politics. Gerakan, a multiracial political party, is endorsing BN’s race-based ideology. I quit as I can’t agree with this. True enough, Gerakan is fielding no non-Chinese candidates in the election.

And the DAP has no problem with that?
No problem, The leadership courted me when I was still with Gerakan. You are a Kedah native contesting in Penang.

Should that be an issue?
Not an issue now, As Chia Kwang Chye, Lee Kah Chun and Teng Hock
Nam are (also not) born in Penang. No double standards please.

What is Jelutong like – the people, the issues?
It’s an ageing constituency as only 15.7 per cent of the people are below 35 years old. Jelutong has been punished by BN while it was in opposition hands. It needs to catch up with development and better quality of life. Bread and butter issues reign high. There are strong ill feelings against inequitable distribution of national wealth. Now that the cost of living has gone up, unhappiness is fermenting.

Jelutong strongman and DAP chairman Karpal Singh paved the way for you to contest in Jelutong. What’s the party’s strategy?
Checks and balances to BN. People feel cheated for voting in BN with a 91 per cent majority in 2004.

How do you see yourself stepping into Karpal's shoes?
I am a blogger who speaks good Malay, can bring up people’s agenda in the Parliament that BN candidates can’t and dare not.

If you get into Parliament, what will you be fighting for?
Say no to race-based politics. Legislate to ban race-based political parties.

Will you promote blogging? Will you have time to blog?
I will blog live in the parliament (if elected).

What if you lose the election?
Go back to blogging, and shout outside the Parliament.

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ABOVE: Tony Pua will be contesting in P 106 Petaling Jaya Utara against Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun (BN-MCA)

Another popular blogger, also running on a DAP ticket, is 34-year-old Tony Pua, a fresh-faced Oxford graduate who started blogging three years ago after setting up a high-tech firm. 'I've had opportunities to migrate but I decided that Malaysia is my home,' Mr Pua said as he dreamt up campaign slogans at a cramped DAP office on the second floor of a shop house, above a Chinese restaurant, on the outskirts of the capital. 'So the next question is what should I do to make it better?' His blog's address is:

Alternative views
ABOVE: Badrul Hisham Shaharin or Gikgu Bard. He will be contesting in P131 Rembau where he will face the Son-in-Law, Khairy Jamaluddin BELOW: On Nomination day

Mr Pua, like Mr Ooi, is running from an urban constituency where Internet penetration is highest and opposition sentiment runs stronger than in the countryside. A third blogger, Mr Badrul Hisham Shaharin, said he is struggling to spread his message because of the limited Internet access in the rural Malay majority seat where he is standing. 'I admit that is is difficult because my blog is not accessible here, but I am getting a lot of help from fellow bloggers,' he said by phone from his electorate of Rembau, a sleepy farming district south of Kuala Lumpur. Mr Badrul, who is running on opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's party ticket, will take on Mr Khairy Jamaluddin, the prime minister's son-in-law and an ambitious politician. Mr Badrul's blog: Considered a thorn in the government's side due to their often critical political and social commentaries, Malaysia's blogging community offer alternative views in a country where the government keeps a tight control on mainstream media.

The government said last year it might compel bloggers to register with the authorities to curb the spread of malicious content on the Internet.Government backers doubt whether bloggers turned opposition politicians could make their presence felt.

'Beyond the major cities like Kuala Lumpur and Penang, there's not much the bloggers can really hope to accomplish,' says Mr Mohamad Norza Zakaria, a leader in Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's Umno party ( The United Malays National Organisation (Umno) dominates the 14-party Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition. Only a fifth of Malaysians have access to the Internet, official data show. There are 10.9 million voters in a nation of 26 million people. Blogger Ooi spoke of the difficult challenge ahead.'Compared to the BN, we are behind on the three M's - money, machinery and media access.' -- REUTERS

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ABOVE: Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad will stand for the SN32 Seri Setia State seat . He will face incumbent Datin Paduka Seripah Noli Syed Hussin (BN-Umno) BELOW:

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ABOVE: Elizabeth Wong will stand for N37 Bukit Lanjan State seat against incumbent Datin Yong Dai Ying of Gerakan BELOW: on Nomination Day

Feb 27, 2008

Sex, murder and corruption in M'sia's election campaign

KUALA LUMPUR - A CLOSE associate of the deputy prime minister allegedly orders the murder of a beautiful foreigner. The health minister is filmed having extramarital sex. A politically connected lawyer is accused of brokering top judicial appointments. A string of scandals features heavily in the opposition's campaign for Malaysia's parliamentary election on March 8. 'It's not that we want to capitalise unnecessarily on these issues, but it's our moral duty to bring them out in our campaign to show that the government is rotten,' said Mr Hatta Ramli, an official in the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party. The ruling National Front coalition is widely expected to win, but with a smaller majority than its landslide victory in 2004. The scandals are not the main factor, but they may be adding to voter discontent with the status quo. 'I think everything that has been made public is only the tip of the iceberg,' said Mr Voon Chin Joo, a 28-year-old information technology consultant. 'My vote will be for the opposition because I want to see all the other scandals exposed.'

But, analysts say, most voters are more focused on issues that affect their lives, such as inflation, crime and rising racial and religious tensions. 'Malaysians have a short memory,' said Ms Tricia Yeoh, a senior researcher at the Center for Public Policy Studies, a Malaysian think-tank. 'These scandals may contribute to some people's perception that Malaysia is in a mess, but they wouldn't drastically change voting patterns.' The government's first headache emerged with the slaying of Ms Altantuya Shaariibuu in late 2006. Abdul Razak Baginda, a close associate of Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak, was charged with abetting the murder of the Mongolian interpreter, with whom he had had an affair. Opposition parties worked feverishly to link Mr Najib to the killing, in which two policemen allegedly used explosives to destroy Ms Shaariibuu's remains in a jungle clearing in October 2006. But the opposition failed to come up with evidence to substan-tiate its claim that Mr Najib had a hand in the killing. The government has moved quickly to deal with the unusual spate of pre-election scandals.

Last August, opposition leaders criticised the government for providing a low-interest loan to rescue Malaysia's main port authority from debts of US$1 billion (S$1.4 billion). Officials deflected the criticism by saying the loan was not a bailout, because it would be repaid. In October, authorities swiftly arrested eight junior officials on corruption charges after the auditor general revealed that ministries bought defective boats and helicopters and paid grossly inflated prices for screwdrivers and flower pots. 'There has been no attempt to hide things under the carpet, so there shouldn't be a negative impact for us in the polls,' said Mr Shahrir Samad, a ruling coalition lawmaker. 'The public is confident that all these issues have been well tackled,' he said. 'Openness, transparency and accountability have been obvious in the government. We have not been riding roughshod over anyone or trying to ignore the public's concerns.'

The nation's attention shifted in recent weeks to two video scandals. In January, Health Minister Chua Soi Lek, married with three children, resigned amid intense public pressure after DVDs - allegedly made by his political rivals - began circulating in his hometown showing him having sex with his lover in a hotel room. No sooner had that scandal faded, when newspaper front pages turned to a government inquiry into another video, which showed a well-known lawyer apparently talking on the phone to Malaysia's former top judge about using their government connections to influence judicial appointments. The inquiry heard testimony in open court from prominent figures including former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. A decision is expected next month - but not until after the election. –

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