Category Archives: The Malaysian Insider

Are we mature enough for societal censorship?


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Are we mature enough for societal censorship?
By Zan Azlee

The Sedition Act is a law that can be used against people who happen to do or say something that can be a cause for disharmony in the country, or deemed seditious.

In many cases, through my personal observations, the investigating, questioning, detaining or charging of people under the Sedition Act has been quite questionable.

But, hey, I’m no lawyer or legal academic expert. I’m just an ordinary journalist who thinks he’s smarter than he really is. So don’t take me too seriously.

And as a journalist, I tend to be a little bit too idealistic and believe in freedom of speech. And I mean total freedom of speech (umm… except maybe defamation). Too idealistic and maybe even a bit naive.

I believe in societal censorship whereby its members will determine what is okay to be expressed or not. Someone can make hate speech and society will silence him by ignoring or condemning him through discourse.

So let this be a little social experiment here. Several people have said several things that may or may not be bothersome to society. Let me list them down here and see what happens in the comments section. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

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Ben Affleck, the super hero


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Ben Affleck, the super hero
By Zan Azlee

It seems the Muslim world has a new hero in the form of a tall, handsome, charismatic Hollywood actor and celebrity by the name of Ben Affleck.

Just pay a visit to his Facebook fan page and you will see the hundreds of postings and messages expressing adulation for him and how he defended Islam.

Affleck appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher where he, along with several other panelists including Sam Harris and Nicholas Kristof, talked about Islam and the Islamic State (Isis).

From the discussion, it seems that Maher and Harris were berating the Muslim world and basically calling the entire global community a pool of stupid ideas and beliefs.

They called Islam a religion that kills and murders people and said that the entire Muslim population believed that was the right thing to do. Hence, it was a dangerous religion consisting of dangerous people.

Then action hero Affleck raised his voice in defence of all innocent Muslims by saying that the broad statements by Maher and Harris were racist and ignorant.

He said that Maher and Harris’s statements regarding Islam and Muslims were very stereotypical and an insult to the millions who weren’t jihadists or extremists. Occasionally, Kristof would put in a word of support.

Here’s the thing: Muslims in Malaysia (and around the world) are going head over heels expressing how Affleck succeeded in putting forth his support for Muslims against the “enemy”.

What they don’t realise is that a debate like this can only happen because it is allowed to happen. Different views are allowed to be expressed, discussed and debated. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

I pray Malaysians won’t start self-censoring their thoughts


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I pray Malaysians won’t start self-censoring their thoughts
By Zan Azlee

A few prominent people who have been either arrested, charged or investigated under the grand old Sedition Act 1948 in the country these past few months are a cause for concern.

Associate professor Azmi Sharom, professor Aziz Bari and lawyer Edmund Bon have been hauled up for speaking about subjects that they are considered experts in.

They spoke based on their vast knowledge, research, experience and observations, yet what they said has been considered by certain people to be seditious in manner.

Unfortunately, under the law, the authorities have all the right to investigate, probe, interrogate, detain, arrest and charge them because of the vagueness of the act.

But just because something is the law doesn’t mean it is just and fair. It all depends on context. The act, as we are all aware, was created decades ago at a time when it was necessary.

But what about now? Yes, as we all know without having to explain much, it is an archaic law which has the potential of being abused to stifle dissent, or anything else.

If they, who are considered experts in their fields, were probed for things they said which should be considered under their jurisdiction, then what about ordinary folk like me and you?

What would stop the powers that be from coming after us if we were to express an opinion or thought that they didn’t agree with?

It shouldn’t be a crime to have different opinions. It shouldn’t be a crime to be offensive. It shouldn’t even be a crime to be racist or deliver hate speech. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider.]

No one defended Ridhuan Tee, boohoo!


Dear Assoc. Prof. Dr Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah. What the hell are you talking about?

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No one defended Ridhuan Tee, boohoo!
By Zan Azlee

It has been a very stress free few months for me. The reason is because I have intentionally ignored everything said and written by the nation’s number one nemesis, Ridhuan Tee.

I have ignored his weekly columns and I have ignored all the things that were written about him. Whenever I see his name crop up on my computer screen, I just click away. It’s nice!

That is, right up until a couple of days ago when a friend of mine tagged me in a post on Facebook which had a link to an article about Ridhuan Tee. Ahh… it was good while it lasted!

It was about Ridhuan Tee, in one of his columns, wondering why no one had come to his defence when he was investigated for sedition once before regarding an article he wrote.

It seemed like he was so jealous and envious of the fact that so many Malaysians had come forward in support of Assoc. Prof. Azmi Shahrom when he was charged for sedition recently. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

 

 

Negaraku – to stand or not to stand


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Negaraku – to stand or not to stand
By Zan Azlee

So the debate rages on about whether someone who stands up or doesn’t when Negaraku, the national anthem, is played is a patriot or nationalists.

Here’s what I think – it doesn’t matter.

Just because someone decides not to stand when the national anthem is playing doesn’t mean he or she is any less patriotic to the country than someone who stands.

It really depends on the true intentions of the person who is standing up (or not). Is he standing up out of respect for people around him or because he really loves the country?

It’s just like the example of religion. Just because someone prays five times a day doesn’t mean he or she is an exceptionally good Muslim.

And it doesn’t mean someone who doesn’t pray five times a day is any less of a Muslim than someone who does pray that many times a day.

What do you say of a person who decides to stand up in the cinema when the national anthem plays but always tries to cheat and skirt around from paying income tax?

How about someone who might stand up during the national anthem but who also tries to bribe a policeman when he is stopped for speeding? [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]