“Bloggers commented on 1Malaysia concept”

This article appeared in the local English daily today.

KUCHING: The contribution of bloggers in Sarawak to promote the 1Malaysia concept will be limited should the government continue to restrict their writings.

Blogger Dr John Brian Anthony said he could not see how they can respond positively to the call by the government to promote the (1Malaysia) concept if their contribution were curtailed.

“I fear that many of our comments would be restricted by the authorities if they think we ‘go overboard’ on the matter,” he said yesterday.

Nevertheless, he did not mind promoting the concept as long as it kept to its main aim, said Brian who writes in the style of dayakbaru in the Internet.“The concept must also encompass the democratic principle of check-and-balance,” he added.

Brian, who is Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) publicity chief, said the concept must take into account the interests of all ethnic groups and not just a few major races otherwise it (concept) would be interpreted as “one-sided”.

“I am struggling for social justice and equal opportunities in terms of economic and education in Sarawak,” he said.

“If we bloggers write with too much ‘passion’ — especially on issues deemed by the government as sen-sitive — I am sure they would not be happy with us. We might as well not write about the concept at all,” he said.

He said this when asked to respond on the call by Minister of Information, Communications and Culture Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim to work hand-in-hand with the bloggers on the matter.

On Thursday, Rais had a meeting with bloggers where he told them to use facts rather than rhetoric and incitements in their writings through the Internet.

Brian also pointed out that should the concept deviated from its original intention, which include tolerance and respect, the government would fail in realising 1Malaysia.

“Development and progress should benefit the society at large. The government is entrusted to ensure this. They are not given the mandate to do all things based on what they (government) think,” he said.

“Peace, harmony and stability are all meant for the people. People put up the government which can provide all these,” he said.

The slogan ‘One Malaysia, People First, Performance Now’ is the main theme introduced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak when he took the office on April 3.

Najib pointed out the concept demanded that people respect one another and also practise tolerance.

Another blogger Audie Chua said he agreed with Brian.

He said if the government wanted bloggers to help in promoting the 1Malaysia concept, then it must be practical.

“There are all sorts of opinions and comments as there are many bloggers. But if the government acts positively, I am sure the bloggers will be ready to assist them in any issue by writing positive views.

“What is important is that the concept must ensure that no ethnic group is lagging behind others in mainstream development,” he said.

On the other hand the people must appreciate the 1Malaysia concept to make its implementation a success, he said.