1,400 webpages blocked in Malaysia

1,400 webpages blocked in Malaysia

At The Dewan Rakyat

More than 1,400 webpages have been shut down or blocked by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) following complaints by Malaysian Internet users.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said 1,225 complaints on misuse of social media websites and accounts had been received so far this year.

"This constitutes about 0.06 per cent of Malaysia's Internet users, but we will still take action if the complaints are found to be true.

"We have shut down about 1,400 webpages because although we believe in freedom of information, it should not be against the law," he said in reply to Datuk Seri Noh Omar (BN-Tanjong Karang).

Noh, in his question, had mentioned a rakyat biadap (rude citizen) whom he claimed continued to shame the country after absconding, in an apparent reference to sex blogger Alvin Tan who jumped bail and is said to be seeking political asylum in the United States.

Tan, 26, and his now former girlfriend Vivian Lee, 25, claimed trial last year to three charges under the Film Censorship Act, Sedition Act and the Penal Code.

Ahmad Shabery said 11 cases of social media abuse had been taken to court this year, including Tan's.

The MCMC has also recorded about 2,000 complaints on people misusing their Facebook accounts.

"Our job is made difficult because a number of users do not go by their actual names. But we will still try to find them and take action against them," he added.

Replying to a question from Nga Kor Ming (DAP-Taiping), Ahmad Shabery said Malaysia's low ranking in the international press freedom scene did not mean the country was not heading towards development.

Referring to the Reporters Without Border's international press freedom index, Ahmad Shabery said even some developed or developing countries were not high on the list.

"If you look at the list closely, the South-East Asian country that ranks highest is Timor-Leste.

"Ask yourself, do you really want us to be in the same level as Timor-Leste, which is known to be a poor country?" he said.

He said even Singapore, which is often touted to be more developed than Malaysia, had a far tighter cap on press freedom for its own reasons.

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