In a record time of under five hours of appealing for financial support, Malaysiakini got more than the RM500,000 amount asked for.
The fundraiser was to help the online news portal pay the fine slapped on it after the Federal Court found Malaysiakini liable for readers’ comments that were held to be in contempt.
Here are some poignant thoughts that deserve serious thinking.
First, when citizens immediately pour in their support for a media outlet and within hours raise more than half a million ringgit, it sends out a loud message.
Second, this unprecedented court ruling has met with deep and widespread disquiet among the legal fraternity.
Third, the fear that there will be a meddling with the independence of the judiciary regarding the calls for a law to be passed in Parliament to codify how the courts should interpret ‘contempt’ is not to be dismissed lightly.
Fourth, this case raises many other considerations, including whether we are leaning away from our democratic principles as constructed in our Federal Constitution.
It also raises the question of what kind of message we are sending out to the larger democratic world: are we a progressive nation or are we regressing?
And what would be the impact on foreign investments from democratic economies much needed to give a lifeline to our economy?
As we now reflect on the above thoughts, we also have to be mindful of where and how contemporary civilisation is evolving towards.
Have we set the clock backward?
In this rapidly advancing technological age, is the fate that befell Malaysiakini not distressing?
If the leaders of our various democratic institutions are true to their oath of office, they cannot sweep this latest development under the carpet.
We need to debate this in the best interest of human civilisation and its basic rights.