Saturday, March 8, 2008

Blogger Elected to Parliament in Malaysia

Blogger Jeff Ooi was elected to the Malaysian Parliment in elections held today. Check out his now historic blog here. Jeff's campaign messages included this one: "Send a Blogger to Parliament." Yea, that's what I'm talking about. This is a signal moment in the political maturation of the blogosphere, a milestone passed. Time for my personal victory dance. The Author is impressed and delighted when any citizen activist or citizen journalist is recognized by his or her community and entrusted with representing their interests in government. (Malaysian Parliament pictured below)

This Malaysian election was extraordinary in a number of ways. It also marks the largest defeat the ruling party has ever suffered since taking over from the British. That happened for a variety of reasons, many related to disappointment and a new activism among the ethnic minorities in the South Asian country. Malaysia is 60 percent Malay, the so-called native sons; 25 percent Chinese, and, 8 percent Indian. The remaining percentage comprises several, smaller groups. According to historians, the big-three ethnic groups worked out a social contract early on.

Under Malaysia's "social contract" hammered out by the nation's founding fathers, the majority Malays will have an unchallenged hold over politics in return for non- interference in Chinese domination of the economy. Today, ethnic Chinese are starting to wonder whether they have been shortchanged and are likely to put the long-standing deal to the test in general elections expected next month, one report said. (source)

If you are interested in following the events in Malaysia, there are a couple of sites to bookmark. Malaysiakini was one of the very first, unauthorized Internet citizen journalism sites. It continues to provide an alternative to government news. The nation's major paper, The Star, often reflects the government line and is thus, a balance for Malaysiakini. And of course, there's Jeff's blog.

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