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Communications and Multimedia Ministry is working with MMU to re-evaluate cyberbullying laws

Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah has said in Dewan Negara yesterday that his ministry (KKMM) is currently working with the Multimedia University (MMU) to study the need for specific laws to combat cyberbullying. He said that “appropriate amendments” can be made to existing laws found to be inadequate to tackle the subject.

“In making amendments or coming up with new legislation if necessary, public consultation and consultation with the stakeholders will be held to ensure the outcomes will be effective,” said Saifuddin.

In July, Saifuddin had already stated that KKMM has appointed MMU to conduct research on anti-cyberbullying laws—which is aimed to be completed in a 6-month period. This was due to an increase in cyberbullying cases in Malaysia, leading to suicide cases.

While there is no specific law on cyberbullying yet, there are several existing laws that can already be used to tackle cyberbullying using social media, based on the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, Computer Crimes Act 1997 and the Penal Code. However, Saifuddin explains that the laws are “generally subject to continuous review”.

The minister said that KKMM had taken action against 3,224 ‘fake’ social media accounts. 80% of the accounts were deleted with the cooperation of social media platform providers, in line with their respective terms and conditions.

“Other content were related to elements of cyberbullying, hatred and the like, whereby 3,638 links or ‘url’ for the accounts and content were referred for further action by the social media platform providers like Facebook, Twitter, Google, Instagram, YouTube and others. Sixty percent of them were deleted based on violation of terms and conditions of the service a well as community standards of the platform providers concerned,” added Saifuddin.

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The collaborative research is expected to be completed by early January. The research will decide if Malaysia needs a special act related to cyberbullying, as implemented in Singapore, the Philippines and some developed countries.

“After six months, if all parties are convinced that the country needs anti-cyberbullying laws, then the content, the types of offences and the types of punishment that will be contained in the act will be detailed,” said the minister.

Not too long ago, Kudat MP Abdul Rahim Bakri posted a long Facebook post where he cyberbullied Veveonah Mosibin. With a new anti-cyberbullying law, we could at least hope to not go through posts like that anymore.

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