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Amendments To 2 Acts Not To Curb Internet Users

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PUTRAJAYA – The proposed amendments to the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and Communications and Multimedia Commission Act 1998 are not intended to curb the freedom of the people to use the social media and internet, said Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak.

On the contrary, Salleh said the proposal to amend both the acts was to ensure that the borderless world was not abused to the extent that it could lead to crimes being committed.

“Many people are saying that the government will close down the internet, this will not happen because it (internet) is among the things most needed such as in the banking system.

“The need for the internet is in line with current developments in the world but it should not be abused to the extent of damaging national harmony that had been nurtured since merdeka,” he said at a media conference after the handing over of duty from former Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, here today.

Salleh, a former Sabah Chief Minister and former Sabah State Legislative Assembly Speaker, was appointed as Communications and Multimedia Minister in the cabinet reshuffle on July 28 in place of Ahmad Shabery.

Earlier, Salleh arrived at the Communications and Multimedia Ministry Complex here to report for duty at about 9.30am greeted by the ministry’s Secretary-General Datuk Seri Dr Sharifah Zarah Syed Ahmad and senior ministry officials.

Clarifying further on the proposed amendments expected to be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat in October, Salleh gave his assurance that it would be carried out transparently without hiding anything.

“Don’t be panicky, the amendment is a process and it had been planned for so long even before the issues on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and the Sarawak Report had cropped up.

“The reason…today the abuse of the internet and social media could be due to the Sarawak Report, tomorrow there may be other blogs whose contents are sometimes wholly accepted by the readers,” Salleh said.

On the Sarawak Report, Salleh said the report published by the blog in collaboration with certain parties in this country was merely intended to destroy national stability.

Realising the spread of inaccurate information and slanders against the government through the mass media and internet, Salleh said the ministry would look for a more structured approach to give information to the people on any issue and government policy.

“Now, many people are spreading slanders to the extent that they are creating a negative perception against the government, thus it is the responsibility of the ministry to explain to the people on the issues raised,” he said.

When asked on the suggestion by certain parties on media practitioners holding a solidarity assembly with “The Edge”, Salleh said it was against regulations and would only lead to chaos.

“What is their motive, it’s as though they want to force the people to support their views and reject the democratic system practiced in Malaysia,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Shabery also expressed his confidence that Salleh could develop and further improve the communications and multimedia infrastructure in the country in the efforts to turn Malaysia into a developed nation by the year 2020.

“This year means that there are five more years to go which will be the last push to drive Malaysia to emerge as a developed nation and the contribution of the ministry is to transform the nation into a developed nation especially in terms of telecommunications,” he said.

In his brief speech, Ahmad Shabery also reminded Salleh that August was the most busy month for the ministry to celebrate the National Day, but he was confident that Salleh was capable of realising the target. – BERNAMA

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