The media in Malaysia will never be the same again. March 8 2008 changed all the rules. In fact, the election tsunami changed Malaysia. Only those who are still in denial mode are still resisting the voices of Malaysians. There seem to be many of such people in Umno, who still has plenty of clout, and newspaper editors, too.
It is a watershed in the Malaysian history and all Malaysians must remember this date because a New Malaysia has emerged.
The New Politics of Malaysia has entered our lives. Malaysians voted massively for CHANGE and the changes, whether for good or bad, started from that day.
The demands for change include the media. More precisely, the mainstream media and as the editor of a newspaper, I cannot escape from the loud calls for changes in the media. Malaysians have cried loudly the kind of media they want. Certainly, Malaysians deserves better than a divided media of overwhelmingly pro-government newspapers or excessively pro-opposition bloggers.
March 8 changed all that. Suddenly, the distinction between government and opposition isn't so clear anymore. Kedah, Penang, Perak, Selangor and Kelantan are now with the Pakatan Rakyat, who are in government in these states. The Barisan Nasional is in the opposition now.
The media - whether old or new - must change if they do not wish to be left behind. As we march towards more changes, Malaysians must continue to reform these institutions meaningfully, not destroy them.
The many laws that have crippled the media such as the need for annual permit renewals should be abolish. No one needs a KDN to start a blog, so why a newspaper?