Contrary to popular belief that the Malaysian authorities are planning on setting up a “Great Firewall of Malaysia”, Communication and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak has pledged otherwise.
A report by malaysiakini dated 19th November (Thursday) quoted him as saying, “The ministry has no intention to block social media, Facebook, and other platform providers, such as Telegram, WhatsApp, and others as a large portion of Malaysians are using these facilities to communicate and do business.”
He was responding to Zainuddin Ismail (BN-Jelebu), who asked if the government would set up firewalls, as is done in China, to block certain social media platforms and messaging applications.
There are about 15 million local accounts aka Facebook users (the population in Malaysia as at July 2013 was at 29.6 million), which means that easily half of Malaysia is on Facebook. In August last year, it was reported that the Government was mulling over the idea of barring access to Facebook due to abuse. Fortunately, the idea was quickly “disliked”.
According to Salleh, as of September this year, 1,638 complaints related to the abuse of the social media were received by Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC). 35 cases, including cases of insulting the royalty and religion, were taken to court under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 by MCMC from 2009 to 2015. He also said that in this year alone, MCMC has taken 14 cases to court, of which 11 were convicted, while 3 cases are still on trial.
But despite that, Malaysia will not join the list of countries that have banned Facebook permanently or temporarily such as China, North Korea, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran, Vietnam, Mauritius, and more.