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Sunday, March 12, 2006

The KLCC Protest Did Not Happen

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Nothing unusual happened at KLCC on Friday, March 10, 2006 - no fuel price hike protest sit-in attended by several hunderd people, no FRU keeping guard nearby, no banners denouncing the governments move to reduce the subsidy on fuel, and definitely no parody of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

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Delusional image from Merdeka Review

Everything was as per normal. If you think you saw something, then you must be delusional.

That is, of course, if you only get your daily diet of news from the mainstream, mostly Government owned media outlets, be they print or broadcast. The only thing that happened at KLCC that was worth mentioning was this:

Jentera F1.06 di KLCC(from Harian Metro)

which is true, cause I saw it. And I have the pictures to prove it:

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Nevermind that the protest was widely reported on the various blogs, including here at myAsylum. It did not happen. Interesting how the mainstream media chose to black out something so significant like the protest on Friday, and the first one a week before. It just makes me wonder now just what else "did not happen" in the past. Is it any wonder then why the rakyat has become so cynical?

As Jeff Ooi has reported in Screenshots, about the only way the two protests have been made known to the public at large has been through the weblog or blog community in Malaysia, in addition to the non-mainstream media, like Malaysiakini and Agenda Daily. You can fool some people all the time, all the people some of the time, but not all the people all of the time.

And almost out of nowhere, and through the sheer thoughtfulness of the Government (insert cynical smirk here), a new Public Complaints website was launched yesterday.

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Now, this site has been described by one blog as "a very ugly website" (read the post - it's rather amusing) and registration is required. For a start, the format is one of a vote portal. And guess what? As part of the registration, one has to state their "race". Of course, this doesn't really surprise me one bit. But what is appalling is that the site is only in one language, Bahasa Malaysia Melayu. There's no option to select "Semua" or suggest "Lain-lain". All in all, too contrived. (UPDATE March 12: There is in fact a button to select all the choices given. Or was it added later? My apologies for the oversight.)

I know we should feel that the Government is trying to do something positive, but I, for one, cannot help but feel cynical over the whole thing.

A news blackout about the protest rallies, statements by Pak Lah that he knows we're angry, the emergence of a feedback portal, and a warning to the opposition not to "take political advantage of the fuel price hike" - all too coincidental, and all too convenient.

The bloggerhood remains one of the few remaining channels for free speech - let's use that tool for a better Malaysia; for us here and now, and for our future generations to come.