Plan to filter Internet scrapped, says Rais

(The Star) PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia will use existing laws to tackle Internet abuse instead of putting in place a special filter to limit web use.

Information, Communications, Culture and Arts Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said there were sufficient laws to nab those responsible for negative practices.

“We will not filter the Internet but Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin (Tun Hussein), (Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department) Datuk Seri Nazri (Aziz) and I have been tasked to look at instances of sedition, fraud and child pornography.

“We will provide the relevant law and enforcement agencies with the necessary particulars for action to be taken.

“We have laws in this country, including those involving the Internet and everyone must abide by them. Perpetrators will have to answer if they break the law,” he told reporters after the launch of the Fly the Jalur Gemilang campaign by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday.

Rais also dismissed a foreign wire report that the Government was designing a software to block websites.

The report said that Malaysia was to cancel an Internet filter tender that drew comparisons with China’s ‘Green Dam’ project, which was aimed at halting the spread of pornography.

The Prime Minister had earlier said that the Government would not impose any censorship of the Internet as such a move would be ineffective and cause dissatisfaction among the people.

Asked how immediate the crackdown on Internet abusers would be, Rais said: “You cannot imagine, maybe I can summarise by saying the task is ahead of us and we have to keep up.”

The minister said the National Security Council would also have to look at possible preventive measures in respect of negative practices on the Internet, but stressed that it would not involve “any sort of application”.