Wednesday, September 2, 2009

In pursuit of 1 Malaysia, Rais reviews Astro’s licence

While many Malaysians are not subscribers to Astro, the satellite TV service, all Malaysians should be very concerned about the proposed review of Astro's licence. Granted that a review is not about cancellation, the motive for the review is the issue.

Many believe that the motive is about freedom to disseminate information. Call it what you want - freedom of speech - freedom of information. This is an attempted clamp-down that is a disservice to the ruling federal government and the political parties running it.

Astro has a 20-year monopoly on satellite TV broadcasting. There's still a long time to run on that monopoly.

But, blinkered people will say that since Astro has proven itself to be a successful business model, the time is right for a review. I am sorry to say that such thinking is stupid and, it sends a completely wrong message to the business community, foreign and domestic, that the Malaysian government behaves in an arbitrary manner and changes goal-posts without regard to business confidence.

Neither Asto nor Ananda Krishnan nor Khazanah Nasional needs any assistance from nondescript bloggers. I am certain that they can fight their battles and win an acceptable outcome. But, that is not the point at all.

The point is, whether the Rais Yatim ministry's conduct is sanctioned by the Cabinet. If it is not, then good leadership sense should prevail to protect Malaysia's typically sound business policies. with the resulting decision to tell Rais Yatim to cease and desist from destroying every small gain that Najib has made with 1Malaysia. If it is, it, then, becomes clear that the ruling coalition is suffering from a serious case of political myopia.

Clamping down the flow of information in an era that is called THE INFORMATION AGE is troglodytic behaviour and the fossilised political thinking threatens to negate the economic recovery efforts (yes, it does) and, such action will not earn any new friends and, it certainly will cause the ruling coalition to lose more friends. Read the Malaysian Insider piece on this matter here.

UPDATE: Government denies political pressure on Astro.


Patricia said...

You think he wants us to watch more shows like 'tom, tom, bak' ah?!

Well, they can review and they can force Astro to make changes and include the drivel they'd like us to watch.

But they can't get my remote and switch it to their channel of choice!

It's the same with the internet. They can put up a gazillion blogs speaking 'for' the establishment. But, they won't get me near them, let alone read them.

But I take your point: it's the whole exercise that stinks. Not the reason for doing it.

walla said...

I guess they are trying to treat the disease with another placebo.....

It is a credibility problem. Once ago when they did a half-malaysia, people would say it was just a wink-wink for-show.

Later after some had grown bold by taunts and tantrums and all the institutions had been systematically bastardized, half-malaysia became zero-malaysia and it was no longer for-show. Now, with zero tolerance on everyone's chest, they want to put in one-malaysia and expect people who had been through half-to-zero malaysia to respond with enthusiasm?

Age might fog memory but issues which rankle the mind stick like radioactive dust. You can only cleanse that off with something pure that has a longer half-life.

The bottom-line is this: the rakyat of this country have to suffer time and again through the learning pains of the government. The government learns, or so it seems, but the pains of learning are transferred to the rakyat. The learner doesn't suffer because it has really learned nothing; instead it has quietly cultivated a skin so thick it can act stupid and expect the rakyat to swallow it each time it practices a right-in-your-face double that it can get away hoping to be elected again and be paid for its services using their money in order to transfer more pain to them.

If the rakyat can connect all the dots, why not a government?

We spend millions on F1, monsoon cup, some bicycle race and other miscellaneous schemes. These get promoted on global tv and electronic media. Presumably they put this country on the world map. Then after muscling a state assembly speaker out of his seat to seize a state government, we decide to whip a single mother. That gets into the same media too. Then we decapitate a cow. That raises the stakes.

So we start something to promote this country to the universe, and proceed to reinforce it with the very welcoming features which we know would be universally condemned. And then we reinforce the creeping perceptions further by not doing anything about them.

To foreigners who might otherwise have developed some vague fondness for this beautiful country, all perceptions of civil nature are soon vaporized.

To the locals who know better, everything is confirmed that our institutions formed under the aegis of some constitution now graffitized beyond recognition have also been bastardized beyond hope.

And everyone knows this is no cock-and-bull story. Not that longer ago, a male hen was decapitated just so some BN politician could prove to the world that what he had said was sworn truth.

Now we decapitate a cow. If one can care for a cat, why not a cow too? After all, both are animals created at the beginning of time. What did they do to deserve the marvelous logic of man walking in the light of the Creator of all?

So if one has a systemic problem, how does one treat it with a placebo?

walla said...

Will pushing one-malaysia to politically-tired and harangued urban middle class make them sit up from their armchairs and conveniently forget all their gripes about the social ruination of this country and then tapik to the last family member on the next politically-correct exultation coined by a well-connected cockeyed with smooth hands in Putrajaya before he calls it a day to drive home at rakyat-allowanced rates to his nest in Bukit Damansara?

..after passing by KL Tower. Which is also a transmission station. For a telco. Whose boss had bought a pair of shoes in London. Costing a few thousand pounds. For that someone who okayed that four hundred million ringgit concrete rod.

Meanwhile the rakyat are game to be enthusiastic about the new no-nonsense Umno mayor of KL. Especially what is hoped that he would have immediately done upon reading the gripes of a JV contractor of DBKL.

Namely: RM142,245/- for a 10 square-feet guardhouse, RM299,560/- for six pieces of schematic drawings and RM903,360/- for two lifts. All charged to his company by DBKL.

But what did the mayor do? As reported by the press, he went home and marinated a chicken to break fast.

As if that will also resolve how some people had been portraying themselves as DBKL enforcement staff to show falsified laminated manila id cards as they rammed their way through to the backrooms to blackmail the poor dvd rental owners. Somewhere near the wangsa maju lrt station.

Now, amidst the fine swirl of such 21st century developments, where and what is 1Malaysia?

It's not even freedom of choice anymore. From race and religion we have gone upmarket to governance.

And precedence. Because if the home minister entertains selectively, he and his government will have to explain why he or his predecessors didn't before to others. Or won't in the future to others. Of course he can plead that he and his predecessors are different people but then do the rakyat vote for individuals, or for consistent single-standard service?

After all this, there is one way to calm one's nerves so that 1Malaysia can jingle the heart..

But that would require the rakyat to borrow the use of that two million ringgit karaoke set in someone's home. Courtesy of some underworld figures of this country.

The dots are aligning to form a constellation. But nowadays one will have to be equally thick-skinned to look skyward for it. And see the Almighty looking down, tapping His fingers while awaiting a good explanation.

But then again, that might not be so difficult to furnish. We have gone from denial to deflection, quickly moving on to muddying, blaming and outright bullyism.

This country and all its institutions have gone to the docks.

No, i didn't misspell that. Didn't want to finger another animal, especially since nowadays decapitation is synonymous with talibanism.

Let us all await the humming of our collective conscience. Humming of heat-seeking high-arsenal drones is no good for the economy.

Raison D'etre said...


Perhaps the authorities are shocked (gasp, horror, oh the humility) at the amount of skin showing in Astro's many channels.

Or it could be Rais is a fan of EPL who could not stomach the recent increase in subscription.

Alas, Astro has far too many reruns. Reading is way better.

Now if only that one is cheaper..