I May Be Malaysian, But I Carry A Big Stick (2007) – STATUS:IN PRODUCTION
Director/Writer: Zan Azlee
Executive Producer: Ang Swee Poh
Producer: Nik Khairun Nisa, Zan Azlee
Music: Arif Rafhan Othman
Duration: 73 minutes
Shooting Format: HDV
Malaysia has been independent from British rule since 1957. And since that year, the country has always been ruled by Barisan Nasional (the ruling coalition which consists of racially-based political parties UMNO, MCA and MIC). Being ruled by the same group for fifty years, several observations can be made; authoritarianism seems to be a common political trait and this has a direct effect on freedom of speech in the country. The main newspapers and broadcasters in the country are owned by the ruling political parties.
Throughout the years, news unfavourable to the rulers has always been conveniently unreported. However, in recent years, with the emergence of the Internet, it looks like this landscape is rapidly changing. Citizen journalism has become a big thing led by political blogger Jeff Ooi (www.jeffooi.com), whose blog is one of the most popular Malaysian sites (although there have been repercussions for being objective when it comes to political commentating in Malaysia).
Taking his lead, the country’s opposition parties have also started websites and blogs. Aside from
blogs, alternative news organisations have also emerged online such as MalaysiaKini (www.malaysiakini.com) and MalaysiaToday (www.malaysia-today.net). Even former prime-minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, who is now a loud critic of the government, has resorted to online media to voice his thoughts after being ‘boycotted’ by the conventional media (he did fine when he was part of the system).
An interesting point to note is that the ruling coalition seem happy in their comfort zone and has not utilised online media at all so far.
With the next general elections just around the corner (most likely in 2007), it would be interesting to see how these emergences is going to effect the outcome. Although many experts and observers feel that it is unlikely that the Barisan Nasional will be voted out of power, everyone strongly agrees that a big enough impact will be made.
This documentary film will try to investigate and observe how this process will take, with political blogger Jeff Ooi being the main protagonist. The documentary will follow Jeff as he observes, comments and participates in Malaysia’s democratic process. Other characters in the film may include representatives from the various opposition parties, alternative news websites, conventional media and members of the public. Another main area this documentary will explore is the emergence of so many individual bloggers who now write about political and social issues and trying to make a change.