Young employees: Don't restrict social media

KUALA LUMPUR - Young civil servants have debunked a warning by the public services department (PSD) that stern action will be taken against employees who make online criticisms against the Government.

PSD director-general Tan Sri Mohamad Zabidi Zainal had reportedly said civil servants were giving negative views on government programmes through the social media and the Internet, not realising it was an offence.

This was echoed by Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Shamsuddin Bardan, who warned employees might face strict disciplinary action if they put up workplace discussions and internal matters on cyberspace.

Syawal (not his real name) shot down the warnings, saying: "At work, I do my work.

"But after working hours, whatever I do is personal and they (the bosses) don't have the right to stop me," added the 30-year-old civil servant, who admitted he had contravened the Akujanji (pledge) he took with the Government.

Michael, 24, an account executive at an advertising firm, admitted he trashed his employers but felt there should be freedom of speech, albeit in general terms rather than direct criticisms towards employers.

Jenn Golliwogg, 31, said while the use of the social media shouldn't be restricted, employees should use some discretion.

"Even in free speech, one shouldn't bite the hand that feeds him," she said.

Kevin Teh, 28, said: "People are obviously going to turn to alternate sources to vent their anger or frustration."

Communications executive Daniel (not his real name), 24, said: "Employees should realise that while social media is a private tool, it exists in a digital public sphere. It's currently a cowboy town where laws are blurry. Employees think they have the right and authority, but the higher authority can exercise their 'right' too," he added.

Jonathan Lim, 23, said there was a thin line between critical judgment and downright condemnation.