The Malaysian Constitution guarantees every Malaysian the right to freedom of speech. When abused, it can cause adverse effects. That’s what Communication and Multimedia Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Salleh Said Keruak believes as the government is mulling for tougher enforcements for online users.
According to the minister, social media is often abused for defaming and to incite hatred against leaders and the institutions of government. To put an end to these issues, the government is pushing to amend the MCMC Act in March, which will give it more powers to act on such abusers. The police will work closely with the MCMC in their investigations. To speed up the process, a dedicated deputy public prosecutor has been appointed by the Attorney-General’s Chambers to handle social media cases.
The new amendment could also allow more websites to be blocked, especially those that are seen to be threatening the peace and violating the Sedition Act. One such site is Sarawak Report, which he says has been spreading lies against the government and it creates confusion among the people. The minister has also added that he hopes Malaysians won’t view this in a negative light as it was necessary to safeguard the public’s interest. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen such warning. In the middle of last year, MCMC had issued a notice advising Malaysians against spreading lies on 1MDB.
Once the amendment is passed in 2 months time, you better think twice before making slanderous statements on your Facebook, Twitter and other social channels. That one rant could win you a “Go to Jail” card.
There are a lot of nasty things being posted on social media these days but there’s a difference between offensive and defamatory. Will the police and MCMC be able to tell the difference between the two? In the UK, there had been several cases of users being jailed for being offensive.
What do you think of this MCMC Act amendment? Will it make Malaysians more responsible online or will it suppress our freedom of speech?