Rais Says Government Will Not Check Info Flow On Internet

(Bernama) — Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said last night the government would not impose any restriction on the flow of information on the Internet but hoped that the people would be guided by religious and cultural values in deriving benefit from the cyber world.

He said the government could enforce the maximum restriction through legislation to check the negative elements spread through the new media, especially the Internet.

However, it would not resort to such measures, similar to the proposal by China to use the so-called “Green Dam” censorware on all personal computers, he said.

“We have not done anything like that. We only ask that we use our religious and cultural values for our good. Besides, I admit that enforcement of the laws under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 will be to the maximum,” he said.

Rais said this on the “Soal Jawab” interview programme aired live tonight over TV3.

The minister was interviewed by Media Prima Group Editor (News and Current Affairs) of TV7, TV8, TV9 and Radio Networks, Datuk Manja Ismail.

He said the ministry and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) were carrying out certain exercises before enforcing the relevant laws.

Rais said the people should not blindly accept anything published by the new media.

“We are building a civilisation, a culture. We have our way in our country, Singapore have their own way, and Thailand theirs.

“We now have Facebook, Twitter. We are not angry. What are our values with regard to our participation in Facebook? How are those in Europe and the United States assaulting us subtly? Don’t we think about that?

“How do we handle our children who spend more time on Facebook than on their studies, on religious education? What I am saying is that the Internet is not our invention. We have to be cautious. Take the good, leave the bad,” he said.

Rais said every individual must have duty of care when publishing on the Internet and in speech so as not to undermine national security.

“Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (provides for) an individual to have duty of care when writing in blogs, and in speech, so as to ensure that the nation’s security is unharmed.

“The act has existed since 1998. Some 113 cases have come up. The Attorney General’s Chambers is acting on them. Twelve cases are being prepared and action will be taken. Rais said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had agreed for a special officer from the Attorney General’s Chambers to look into the adequacy of existing laws.

Asked about the use of Facebook by several leaders to interact with the people, Rais said: “In such matters, we are using it for the country’s benefit. But there are people who publish to criticise. We have to be patient because this is a section of the Internet world which has survived on controversies.”