Today, there is really no longer any need for Malaysia Today. Today, there are thousands of Blogs and news portals that are doing the job that Malaysia Today has been doing over the last nine years since 2004. In fact, with the so many other sites around, Malaysia Today can actually be considered redundant.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Exactly nine years ago, on 13th August 2004, Malaysia Today was launched. That was about ten years after I discovered the Internet in 1994.
Actually, the idea to start Malaysia Today was not mine. It was my wife’s idea. Those of you who personally know my wife, Marina, will also know she is very persistent and quite a fighter. And once she has made up her mind it is very difficult to get her to change it.
She bugged and nagged me for months after the March 2004 general election to start my own site. At that time I was running the Free Anwar Campaign website, which I launched in 2000. Marina wanted me to get out of Anwar Ibrahim’s ‘shadow’ and ‘go solo’.
After five months of non-stop nagging, I finally gave in and started Malaysia Today. That was the only way to get Marina off my back. I suppose, as they say, behind every man there stands a woman. And Marina was that woman who was standing behind me and who kept pushing until I agreed to start Malaysia Today.
I suppose the March 2004 general election -- a disaster for the opposition as far as I was concerned -- was the wake-up call that showed we needed to reach out to the urban voters. The urban voters, in particular the non-Malay voters, were very complacent and appeared to be resistant to change.
The rural voters were not so bad. They appeared more open to change. In fact, back in 1990, they had already opted for change when they voted for the PAS-Semangat 46 coalition in the East Coast. The same went for the voters in Sabah who gave the state to the opposition PBS.
In 1999, the rural voters gave both Kelantan and Terengganu, the two Malay heartland states, to the opposition. The opposition did well in Kedah as well, another Malay heartland state. In urban states like Penang, Perak and Selangor, however, the opposition took a beating and even taikos like Karpal Singh and Lim Kit Siang were defeated, a shameful track record for the Chinese voters of Penang.
Clearly the urban voters, in particular the Chinese and Indians, were still sleeping. They needed to be woken up and woken up with an utmost rude shock as well. And that was why Marina felt we needed a website like Malaysia Today. If not, come the next general election expected around 2008/2009, the opposition was going to get totally wiped out.
Marina’s instinct was proven correct and Malaysia Today managed to a certain degree reach the urban voters. It also helped spawn many other blogs and independent news sites.
Today, there is really no longer any need for Malaysia Today. Today, there are thousands of blogs and news portals that are doing the job that Malaysia Today has been doing over the last nine years since 2004. In fact, with the so many other sites around, Malaysia Today can actually be considered redundant.
I may run Malaysia Today for another year until 2014. Then, on Malaysia Today’s tenth anniversary, we shall see whether there is still a need for Malaysia Today. Probably with so many sites doing the job that Malaysia Today is doing I can retire Malaysia Today and, in turn, myself retire as well. Let’s see what happens a year from now.
I find that nowadays I have very little work to do. With deep throats all over the place and popping out of the woodwork, I do not need to tell so many untold stories. And I really don’t want to just repeat what so many other people are already reporting. It becomes quite boring when 65 people talk about the same thing.
Anyway, Malaysia Today‘s ninth anniversary is a very quiet affair. There is no cake or blowing of candles. I am just sitting all alone in my corner in Gossip on Broadway, Manchester’s first Malaysian kopitiam, writing this article and wondering where I go from here.
My youngest son has gone back to Malaysia to get married. He will be getting married in about two weeks but I will not be attending his wedding, mainly because I cannot go back to Malaysia.
I feel quite sad that I cannot attend my own son’s wedding but I suppose that comes with the territory. It is a sort of occupational hazard. If I do return to Malaysia I will still not be able to attend the wedding anyway since they would probably pick me up the instant I land in KLIA.
As they say, when you laugh, the whole world laughs with you, but when you cry, you cry alone. In 2008, many people joined me to laugh when Pakatan Rakyat won 82 Parliament seats and five states. But when you cannot attend your own son’s wedding you will just have to sit in the corner of Gossip on Broadway and cry all alone.
It makes you wonder why the hell you want to go on doing this.