Najib: Freedom of speech comes with accountablity

JITRA - The Government will not retract the freedom of speech in the social media so long as it is exercised with accountability, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The Prime Minister said the Government practised an open attitude but warned that there must be a limit to freedom.

"The existing law will be imposed on anyone attempting to jeopardise peace. This is certainly in force," he said, adding that while the Sedition Act would be abolished and replaced by the proposed National Harmony Act, matters pertaining to religion and race would not be neglected.

Speaking when opening the Jerlun Umno division meeting here yesterday, Najib who is Umno president said the Government would not allow freedom that did not adhere to the principles of accountability especially regarding Islam, the other faiths as well as the special privileges of the Malays and the Malay Rulers.

"We'll put in provisions (in the new Act) which we think are more suitable with the current situation," he added.

He said while democracy has matured in the country, there must be limits and principles of accountability.

"We must find a formula where we give people the opportunity to have their say, including to reprimand leaders, but with certain limits."

Earlier in Putrajaya, he said Government agencies should set up their own innovation laboratories to create a "safe space" to discuss new ideas for social innovation.

"We need to expand the rakyat's channels and access to the Government's services and for them to state their wishes and expectations," he said at the presentation of the Prime Minister's Innovation Award 2014 here yesterday.

The award was won by the Finance Ministry through its Urban Transformation Centre (UTC) programme.

The UTC is a one-stop centre which brings together many agencies under one roof between 8.30am to 10pm for seven days a week to provide services to the rakyat.

"Some of the participating agencies are, for example, Klinik 1Malaysia, Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia, National Registration Department, Immigration Department, Emplo­yees Provident Fund and there are even avenues for the payment of utility bills.

"This award received for the UTC is not just a success for the Finance Ministry but for all Government agencies, as the UTC is a combined effort and the monetary reward will be used to further develop the concept of UTC," said Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah.

Some 1.6 million people have reportedly visited the various UTC locations nationwide last year, and more than 1.7 million people have done the same so far this year.