Twitter shoots down MCMC’s request to delete posts critical of PM

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has failed in its attempt to get Twitter to take down several tweets by a vocal government critic, the latest in a series of actions to shut down views not favourable to Putrajaya, MalaysiaNow has learnt.

(MalaysiaNow) – The US-based social networking service refused MCMC’s request to take down four tweets by Salim Iskandar, who frequently posts tweets mocking Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s coalition government.

“As Twitter strongly believes in defending and respecting the voice of our users, it is our policy to notify our users if we receive a legal request from an authorised entity (such as law enforcement or a government agency) to remove content from their account,” Twitter said in an email to Salim informing him of MCMC’s request.

Salim had earlier posted a series of tweets challenging Anwar to take a religious oath to deny the sodomy allegation for which he was convicted and sentenced to jail in 2015, before being granted a royal pardon in 2018.

He also criticised the prime minister for his current stance in favour of Chinese investments, comparing it to Anwar’s past statements against being dependent on Beijing, including one where Anwar accused the then government under Najib Razak of selling out the country to China.

Twitter in its response advised Salim to decide whether he would like to delete the posts volutarily or seek legal counsel.

The company has a policy of scrutinising requests from government agencies to take down posts, but these are only fulfilled for cases involving harm to children, threats to life and terrorism.

Twitter’s policy also bars it from complying with requests which could restrict freedom of expression or silence journalists and legitimate political speeches.

MCMC is an agency under the communications and digital ministry helmed by Fahmi Fadzil, who recently courted controversy for his attacks on the media as well as a threat of police action against government critics.

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