The move to block the Sarawak Report website and Lim Kok Wing’s resignation are signs that the BN is losing the propaganda war over 1MDB and other scandals.
Even before that, Najib had the Wall Street Journal and The Edge to contend with. Now comes Bloomberg with The Scandal that ate Malaysia.
What is the Najib administration going to do? Ban all these business websites? I don’t think so. It has not even sued the Wall Street Journal for its explosive revelation.
Instead, in a damage control move, it has blocked the Sarawak Report website. What next? Block/ban the Edge and Mahathir’s blog?
But hey, this is the internet. Unlike the story of the boy who saves his country by poking his finger into a dyke to plug a leak, the Najib adminstration is not going to save itself or the country by plugging the information flow in the worldwide web.
Blocking a website is an exercise in futility. It may stop those who don’t know their way around the internet but in reality, it is like plugging a hole the diameter of a cannon ball with your finger. Besides, articles can be shared on social media.
Meanwhile, more holes have appeared all over the dyke: Rafizi, Tony Pua, Sarawak Report, Mahathir, The Edge (courageous of Ho Kay Tat, I must say), the Wall Street Journal and now Bloomberg. (Now Tony Pua, and possibly Rafizi, have been blocked from travelling abroad.)
Lim Kok Wing must have seen the writing/leaks on the wall, decided it was time to call it a day at the office, and switched off the lights on the way out. After all, gone are the days when you could win the propaganda battle using government-controlled media monopoly.
Now the people have options.
And what do you do when the business press joins in? It is one thing taking action against opposition politicians using repressive laws. But it won’t do business or economic confidence much good if the government goes after the business media, especially when confidence is already at a low ebb.
For now, the Najib administration finds itself stuck in a Catch-22 situation. No amount of public relations or repressive measures can plug the flow of information to the rakyat.