Jul 24, 2007

Malaysia denies crackdown on bloggers

It is not a clamp down. Then what it is?.

(AFP) KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's deputy prime minister denied the government is clamping down on bloggers after a prominent ruling party politician lodged a police report against a website, reports said Tuesday.

"There is no special decision to go against bloggers but citizens must be aware that there are laws in this country," Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak was quoted saying by The Star daily.

Muhammad Muhammad Taib, United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) information chief, on Monday lodged a police report against Malaysia Today, a political website edited by Raja Petra Kamaruddin.

He alleged that postings on the blog insulted Malaysia's king and Islam, and contained elements that could cause racial tension.

"Some of the offensive comments are capable of threatening racial stability and national security. The comments show that they do not respect the law," Muhammad said according to New Straits Times.

The incident comes after Nathaniel Tan, an aide to former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, was detained by police for four days over an anonymous posting on his blog referring to corruption allegations against a minister.

Tan, a member of the opposition Keadilan or the People's Justice Party to whom Anwar is adviser, accused the police of unlawful detention and discriminatory controls of bloggers after he was released last week.

Two prominent bloggers, Ahirudin Attan and Jeff Ooi, are also being sued for defamation by the government-linked New Straits Times Press group.

Ministers, including Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, have accused bloggers and Internet users of spreading lies about the government. - AFP/ac

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