Friday, August 7, 2009

Malaysian Government will not censor the internet: Najib

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government will not censor the Internet as such a move will be ineffective in a borderless world where information flows freely, said the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He said that it would also lead to dissatisfaction among people.

He was responding to questions about Information, Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim's comments earlier Friday that the Government had called for a tender for an Internet filtering system.

"Up till now there is no change in the Government's Internet policy," he said, adding, however, that this matter was still open for discussion.

Rais had said that the filter system was to reduce “Malaysian children’s exposure to online pornography.”

“We will attempt to put in this filtering system because the safety of our children from pornography cannot be compromised,” he told a press conference Friday.

Dr Rais also confirmed that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (SKMM) and other bodies responsible for “policing Malaysian cyberspace” were told to look into implementing this system.

“I’ve asked authorities such as SKMM to find ways to implement this and study how developed countries have successfully overcome the problem of the culture of pornography,” he said.

However, he refused to answer questions on the tender process and admonished “liberals and supporters of liberalism” who have criticised the Government’s plans for such a filter.

“Look at the situation of countries which had fallen victim to widespread pornography, resulting in child sex.

“We must attempt to stop this. The Government is looking into ways to overcome this,” he said.

On Thursday, The Star Online, other portals and news agencies reported that the Government had called for a tender to develop an Internet filtering system similar to China’s controversial Green Dam project to block “undesirable websites.” Dr Rais also brushed aside plans to register or filter bloggers, saying they would have to answer to the courts or other relevant authorities if they broke laws such as the Penal Code.

“But for us (the Ministry), we will enforce laws under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 to stop computer crimes, and other crimes, that compromise safety as defined under the Act,” he said.

The Malaysian Insider reported that four companies have sent in proposals for the Internet filter, with a decision expected to be made in December by the National Security Council led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Taken from The Star Online

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