Tuesday, March 18, 2008


The Malaysian Ex'PM becomes blogger!

Malaysia's ex-prime minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday launched his own blog, becoming the latest among many politicians who are crowding cyberspace to air their views.

The 81-year-old Mahathir, whose daughter Marina also blogs, was criticised for suppressing press freedoms during his 22-year tenure and clamped down on dissenting voices through strict media laws.

His first entry questioned the move to appoint an independent commission to appoint judges, recently announced by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

"He has been mulling over this for several weeks and he has now decided to go ahead with it," Mahathir's aide Sufi Yusoff told AFP.

In his introductory note on the blog, www.chedet.com, Mahathir said the site was "dedicated to publishing my writings as and when I am able to pen my thoughts and opinion.""Che Det" is Mahathir's nickname as a child and his pen name.

Mahathir has emerged as Abdullah's harshest critic since the ruling Barisan Nasional government coalition suffered its worst-ever results in March 8 polls that left five states and a third of parliamentary seats in opposition hands.

In his post, Mahathir said the constitution would have to be amended before a commission could appoint judges, which would require a two-thirds majority in parliament, which the government does not have.

Mahathir's foray into the blogosphere follows similar moves by opposition leaders, most prominent among them Lim Kit Siang from the Democratic Action Party, who was one of the first politicians to harness blogs and websites to reach voters.

Abdullah has admitted that his biggest mistake in the recent disastrous elections was to ignore cyber-campaigning.

After the polls, many government lawmakers started their own blogs as an outlet to express their views and interact with constituents.

Malaysia's mainstream media are mostly part-owned by parties in the ruling coalition, and opposition views are almost never reported in a positive light.

Malaysia's prominent blogger Ahiruddin Atan on Thursday lauded Mahathir's blog and said: "Blogosphere will never be the same again."


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