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Why is Goliath going for David(s)? January 18, 2007

Posted by elizabethwong in Human Rights, Malaysia, Note2Self, Politics.

Libel suits aren’t all that common in Malaysia. There are a handful of notables that come to mind, such as Vincent Tan vs. MGG Pillai; Vincent Tan vs. Prof. Jomo K. Sundram; and of course, one that would be interesting to watch in March i.e., Anwar Ibrahim vs. Mahathir Mohammad.

But we are nowhere close to the league of Singapore Inc. led by the Lees. The elder statesman and now his son, have carved a niche in the politics of the region, for their relentless assault against the opposition by way of civil suits. This strategy has been successful, not only because they were able to exclude credible opposition from the political process, it exacerbated a culture of silence and self-censorship amongst the oppositionists and dissidents.

Even less common, if not unprecedented here, are lawsuits filed by a newspaper against individuals.

But in this age where traditional media is hardly catching up with New Media, perhaps many in the former category may have been caught too often with their pants down by bloggers.

Which brings us to once again ask, ‘Why’, and ‘Why Jeff and Rocky’?

NST should already be used to the varying levels of disgust and anger from many quarters of Malaysian society.

During late 20th Century, there were even a nationwide campaign to boycott a select group of mainstream media by the opposition, in particular, NST, TV3 and Utusan Malaysia. There is even a suggested correlation then, between the decrease number of readership of NST and Utusan, and the leap in the copies sold by ‘alternative’ newspapers such as Harakah and Rocket, as well as the popularity Malaysiakini.com.

One would assume that loss of readers, which in return, harms the bottom-line, would be extremely detrimental. Yet none of the newspapers then attempted to sue, say, those who had heaped abuse and even organised a boycott campaign.

Today in 2007, with NST isn’t doing as well as it wants to, or should be, why have they decided to sue two bloggers? Wouldn’t it be better for its personal public relations (and hence, sales) to pull up their pants, rather than punish those who merely point out their faux pas in all their glory?

It is without question that Jeff and Rocky have risen above the ranks to become the most influential bloggers in the country. Though they have been quick to point out mistakes and catch ‘spins’ generated by NST and those from other mainstream media, their sharpest criticisms are reserved for none other than the leader of the country, Abdullah Badawi.

So is the libel suit in the service of NST and its readers, or is it in fact, in the service of others?

I, for one, am more fearful for the future of freedom of expression and the overarching effect of censorship and self-censorship in cyberspace, brought forth by NST.



1. wits0 - January 19, 2007

Haven’t bought NST for very many years and hardly buy theStar(only mainly because of InTech supplement which unfortunately has deteriorated in quality). The Net is a much better source of news – for thinking people.

2. Military corruption allegation? · DSAI in the News - January 19, 2007

[…] Why is Goliath going for David(s)? By elizabethwong Sundram; and of course, one that would be interesting to watch in March ie, Anwar Ibrahim vs. Mahathir Mohammad. But we are nowhere close to the league of Singapore Inc. led by the Lees. The elder statesman and now his son, … elizabeth wong – https://elizabethwong.wordpress.com […]

3. smoothriver.net » Blog Archive » Delay No More! - January 20, 2007

[…] also learnt the trick recently. They are also trying to sue somebody till they drop. So if you are beh song with those flers you can also […]

4. Mahmood Abbas - January 20, 2007

I continue to buy the NST and the Star as I want to show solidatory to NSTP Bhd as it is their human right to sue Jeff Ooi moreover after Jeff Ooi publishes an online newspaper, Screenshots, which spreads hurtful lies and no truth.

Jeff Ooi’s newspaper Screenshots publishes libelous, seditious and defaming content that can hurt the character of innocent people like Kalimullah Hassan and Brenden Pereira.

5. undergrad2 - January 21, 2007

This case is not about freedom of speech. It is about the rights of a party who has suffered defamation at the hands of a blogger who says what he writes is fair comment.

Unfortunately for him and fortunately for the rest of us, this bloke Jeff does not write the law of defamation. It is for the court to decide.

I will not contribute a single cent so this guy could sleep at nights. NSTP is a party with deep pockets and they have access to the best legal brains the business. Jeff Ooi? He would have to sell off his investments, his family home and his wife just to afford a third rate brain from Malaysia.

Pro bono?! Get real!

Good luck to him!

6. Rikey® said... - January 21, 2007

Thanks to this NSTP fiasco I’m blogging now! yahooo…. at least there’s more reasons to vent my opinions rather than letting them GOONS scare us with their high handed Draconian ways.


7. Rikey® said... - January 21, 2007

By the way …
What happened to Lim Kit Siang’s blog? media blackout???


Today its like this:
Sorry! Please come back later, server maintenance in progress….

Yesterday was:
account suspended not paid?

8. elizabethwong - January 21, 2007

Dear Rikey,
LKS – They could be moving servers 🙂

9. undergrad2 - January 22, 2007

LKS has moved his servers offshore!

10. undergrad2 - January 22, 2007

“Today in 2007, with NST isn’t doing as well as it wants to, or should be, why have they decided to sue two bloggers? ”

Well, they gotta start somewhere, sometime. The fact is these two guys show no respect for the laws of the country – for which they will have to pay a price. Saying they do is not the same as doing it.

This is a free country. If someone tramples on your constitutional rights, what do you do?? Are we saying that NSTP’s rights are subordinate to the rights of bloggers, that Jeff Ooi somehow is first among equals and he deserves special treatment because he says he fighting to uphold of free speech?

If there is a clampdown on free speech and on bloggers, why is it others are free to continue to operate?

It is the constitutional right of an aggrieved party to seek remedies through our court system. NSTP applied ex parte for a temporary injunction and was granted one. So now what is it? The judge who heard the matter in chambers abused his power??

11. Rikey® - January 23, 2007

undrgrad2 I don’t like your posting as it deflames this Blog and the other supporters …. see you in court ok!

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