Home > Art & Lifestyle, Uncategorized > China-style Internet censor in Malaysia

China-style Internet censor in Malaysia

As a vivid internet user, i am greatly upset with the news.Here’s the abstract from the Star Online, Authur by JO TIMBUONG.

PETALING JAYA: Online and wire agency reports that the Government is mulling an Internet filtering system similar to China’s controversial “Green Dam” project has got the local online community in a huff, while technology experts questioned the viability of the project. Online portals and wire agencies reported earlier Thursday that the Government has called for a tender for a system that could block “undesirable websites.”

Information, Communication and Culture Minister Rais Yatim, whose ministry issued the tender, also plans to secure direct control over the content and monitoring division of Malaysia’s Internet regulator, Reuters quoted a source as saying. Rais himself said last month that he would introduce measures to “control the bad” elements on the Internet. Neither Rais, nor any of the government bodies related to technology, were available for comment at press time.

If they seek power and control, why dont they just announce communism in the country? Below compiled opinion or thoughts on the matter:

The Association of the Computer and Multimedia Industry of Malaysia (Pikom) was disappointed with what it said was the Malaysian Government’s attempt to censor the Internet. “It has gone against its word to ensure the medium remains open and uncensored,” Pikom chairman David Wong said.

The MSC Malaysia Bill of Guarantees specifies that the Internet will not be censored to ensure the success of the MSC Malaysia initiative, he noted. “It will also be difficult to filter ‘harmful content,’ especially that found in blogs, on the Internet as it knows no boundaries,” he said.

Wong said Internet users did not share their thoughts only on blogs, but also through social network sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, as well as chatrooms and forums. He said a better and more viable measure would be to educate the public on the consquences of spreading harmful or irresponsible content.

GG, no Facebook…no poking…

Technology advocate Dinesh Nair said the Government’s efforts might just be in vain. “They can try to filter the Internet but it won’t work,” he said. He also believed that if the main reason was to block “undesirable content,” the Government would be better off using the educational approach.

If the Government were to block one “harmful site,” another would just pop up in its place, he added. Internet users, he said, view online censorship as damaging and will always find ways to circumvent any such barrier. “It’s better to educate the rakyat (people) to be proactive and identify these sites and exercise good Internet surfing habits, rather than censoring the Internet,” he said.


Artist and new media advocate Muid Latif said Internet censorship would only contribute to the negative growth of the Malaysian information and communications technology sector, especially in the area of creative content. “This ridiculous restriction will reflect badly on Malaysia and potential investors will think twice about making an investment here,” he said.

Many in the Government have blamed the vibrant and critical Internet culture for Barisan Nasional’s losses in the 12th General Election in March last year, and there has been pressure from some quarters to muzzle the medium. The Government had previously considered registering bloggers, many of whom are critical of the ruling coalition.

Blaming the internet?

Here’s another article in Star Online by LESTER KONG and ZULKIFLI ABD RAHMAN on the matter with comment by the Prime Minister.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government will not impose any censorship of the Internet, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said. He said such a move would be ineffective and could cause dissatisfaction among the people. He said this immediatelty after Infor–mation, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim confirmed there were plans to develop an Internet filtering system, although only for pornography. Dr Rais said the move was to protect Malaysian children from online smut.

Speaking to reporters after launching the Majlis Jalinan Rakyat at the people’s housing project at Batu Muda here yesterday, Najib said: “Such a policy (to filter the Internet) will usually be decided by the Cabinet, but we have no intention to do it because it will be ineffective. “So far, there is no change in the Government’s policy in this issue.”

Najib said information travels freely in the developing world of information and communication technology. “If we put a form of control, the people cannot accept it,” he said. Earlier, when confirming that he was looking at an Internet filtering system, Dr Rais said authorities such as the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (SKMM) who were responsible for policing Malaysia’s cyberspace were told to look into implementing the system.

“I have asked the authorities to find ways to implement this and study how developed countries have successfully overcome the problem of pornography,” he said. Dr Rais however side-stepped a question on the tender process for companies to develop the system. Online and wire news agencies had 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”.

Commission chief executive officer and acting chairman Mohamed Sharil Tarmizi confirmed that it was only looking into developing filters to stop elements of pornography, scams, spam and phishing. Sharil said that the commission had been conducting surveys to find out “what makes Malaysians tick” when it comes to online content from a development standpoint. “The study may show that parents want more controls to filter pornography and spams to protect their children,” he said. He added that it was not feasible for the Government to monitor and block access to all websites that were deemed “undesirable”.

To filter pornography? Protect Malaysian children from online smut?

There’s plenty of parental control software out there that can filter the online content, concerned parents and individual can try out or purchase those software instead. Why spend millions to create a new filtering system? Need one system that can filter political comment? Then it justify. lol.

Filter pornography? To protect our kids? Its 21st century, teach sex education early in school and your problem solved.

Testing water by some related parties? 10 years old kid also know that such censoring initiatives will definitely get bad reception from the people. Poor Dr Rais, he is merely a messenger, to test the water.

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