Jan 28, 2007

Prime Minister attacks Internet users

Lies and lies.. so who is the liar?

(AFP) Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has accused Malaysians of using the Internet to spread lies about him, according to a report today.

The premier also insisted he still had the support of the majority of Malaysians despite attacks by critics.

Abdullah said Malaysians were using the freedom and anonymity of the Internet and mobile text messages to make "unfounded allegations."

"This sort of freedom had made them resort to such action," Abdullah told the government-linked New Straits Times in an interview.

"Even bloggers or those who maintain websites use this opportunity to create stories. Lies after lies are being told. To them, everything is not right, everything is not good," he said.

"If I allow myself to be distracted by all this, I will not be able to do any work. That is what they want, that I not focus on my work."

His attack follows the launch of a controversial defamation suit against two Malaysian bloggers by the New Straits Times, for which Abdullah has voiced support despite heavy criticism of the action.

Abdullah said his detractors were trying to undermine his leadership but added that most Malaysians were still behind him.

"I know there are people who are trying their best to ridicule me. They make a mountain out of a molehill. They just want to rubbish me," said Abdullah.

"All this is expected in politics. No politician is liked by everyone. The most important thing is that I have the support of the majority," he said.

The New Straits Times' unprecedented suits against bloggers Ahirudin Attan and Jeff Ooi have triggered criticism from watchdogs, who say the moves will stifle free expression in Malaysia, where the media is tightly controlled.

Both writers have published articles critical of Malaysian government policy and Abdullah's administration. - AFP

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