Police to form unit to stop errant social media users


(MM) – A special task force will be set up to monitor social media websites to act against those who break the law by spreading rumours or seditious and incendiary remarks online, Malay language daily Utusan Malaysia reported.

It quoted Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar as saying that the unit, known as the Cyber Investigation Response Center (CIRC), will be provided with the latest equipment in the digital market, to “detect and hunt down irresponsible quarters”.

“The unit is a new initiative by the police to take on a more proactive role in curbing and detecting misuse of the Internet, particularly in social media,” Khalid was quoted as saying.

The Internet has been “exploited” to defame individuals and the government, he was further quoted as saying.

CIRC will be supervised and monitored by the Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID), the paper reported

In 2012, the federal government revised Section 114A of the Evidence Act 1950, allowing enforcement authorities to trace and to hold one accountable for publishing seditious, defamatory or libelous content online, as long as the allegedly defamatory content is traced back to one’s username, electronic device or wireless network.

The amended legislation which places the burden of proof on the publisher, was widely criticised, as it was seen a sinister attempt to stifle freedom of expression on the Internet.

Following intense opposition to the law, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the government will review the law.