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Malaysian blogs fly flag upside down

Categories: Activism, Malaysia

Since August 3rd, some Malaysian blogs have featured the national flag (or “Jalur Gemilang“) posted upside-down as a sign of a nation in distress. The call was said to be have been made by blogger Sheih aka ‘kickdefella [1]‘ from the country's east coast, a call which many bloggers have taken to. Some bloggers have deigned to show disrespect to the flag [2], although they have posted the ruling party's flag upside down on their blog [3].

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi was reported [4] to have expressed regret over this movement in the blogosphere, calling it “evil”. He was reported to have said that flying the national flag upside down was not unlawful or illegal, but still a despicable one, especially in the run up of Malaysia's 51st independence celebrations. It was reported that Abdullah hoped that the police would take some action into the matter.

[5]

In his most recent posting, [6]  blogger Sheih expressed his indignance that the less fortunate and hard-core poor are not helped at all by the politicians, notwithstanding promises made prior to the March 2008 elections. He stated that the politicians were too busy politicking and not directing their minds towards helping the poor. As an example, he cited the new ruling of self-service petrol kiosks, which would cause unemployment and hardship, especially in poorer states.

Both ruling and opposition parties have expressed regret, and some dismay, that Malaysians would post images of the national flag upside-down. In the blogosphere, the jury is still out.

22 Aug 08: As a post script, newspaper reports [7] have stated that the blogger who instigated instigating the upside-down flag flying is under police probe . The news reports did not indicate if Sheih is indeed the blogger in question.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Ismail Omar, was reported to have said that police report was lodged, and the police are now investigating the action under the Sedition Act 1948 [8]. Ismail declined to name the complainant and did not indicate if only the blogger in question will be subject to the investigation, or if others who did the same, will be investigated.