MPs say press law changes will drive investors away

By Clara Chooi | The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 26 — Opposition lawmakers piled criticism today on the government’s plan to regulate online media content, predicting that the move would see severe voter backlash and hamper investor confidence in Malaysia.

DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang told The Malaysian Insider today that the Najib administration’s latest attempt to quell online dissent was a clear violation of the Barisan Nasional government’s pledge not to enforce censorship on the Internet.

The promise, he noted, was made under the 10-point Bill of Guarantees (BoGs) of the Malaysian Multimedia Super Corridor launched in 1996.

“They should be aware of this violation and if they proceed with this, they will frighten away investors.

“If the guarantee is not honoured, investors will view Malaysia as losing its credibility,” he said when contacted.

It was reported yesterday that the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 will be amended soon to expand its scope and include online media content.

National news agency Bernama quoted Home Minister secretary-general Datuk Seri Mahmood Adam as saying that the ministry was looking to redefine the word “publication” in the law to include Internet content, blogs and social network services such as Facebook.

The proposed amendments, he added, would be tabled in Parliament by March this year.

But Lim said that instead of “widening the net” of the “already controversial” PPPA, the government needed to amend the law to loosen restrictions on the organisations that it currently controls.

“They should remove the draconian bits of the law like removing the requirement for media organisations to apply for annual licences to proceed with their publications,” he said.

He added that the country presently had sufficient laws to regulate media content that were deemed overly sensitive or offensive.

“If materials are defamatory in nature, there are adequate laws to bring the writers or publishers to book.

“But here, we are trying to control online content… we are just moving backwards,” he said.

PKR deputy president Azmin Ali agreed with his Pakatan Rakyat colleague, adding that the move to regulate online media content would “dampen” the country’s economy.

“We talk about globalisation, about freedom of information, which we are doing in Selangor, and we talk about allowing easy access to information. This is what democracy is about.

“But yet we move backwards. How do we expect our economy to grow? How do we expect to attract investors to park their businesses here when everything is being controlled? We are frightening them away,” he said.

  1. #1 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 - 1:38 pm

    ///The proposed amendments, he added, would be tabled in Parliament by March this year.///

    This is what UMNO used to do whenever general election approaches – clamping down on free flow of information so that opposition MPs/supporters cannot criticize the government.

  2. #2 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 - 1:52 pm

    Must do 1, clampdown! Cos erections coming n more $$$$ haram going 2 flow out Msia
    Cannot hv unregulated n uncensored info floating on the Internet 1

  3. #3 by k1980 on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 - 2:15 pm

    Follow Kim Jung Il. Rename the country as the Democratic People’s Republic of Malaysia.

  4. #4 by dagen on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 - 3:14 pm

    So corporate websites too need the yearly permit under the printing presses act. Imagine having to apply to the home ministry every year for the all important umno permit issued under the act. Schools, hospitals, associations, foundations etc. with web presence are also required to obtain an umno approved licence. And my kids’ facebook accounts too require a yearly umno permit issued under the act. How on earth this can be done, one wonders. And all other website owners in the country too are not spared. Hobby sites. General info sites.

    At the moment, web presence is crucial for businesses. The first thing people do when they want to know anything about a certain company or product or service is check online. The umno permit requirement will simply cause a shut down of a very very large number of business related websites in the country. That means in this important aspect malaysian businesses will be represented by a gaping hole in the World Wide Web.

    Then again there is no stoping people from having their sites hosted outside the country. I am sure the printing presses act has no extra-territorial effect. I suppose umno may be desperate enough to extend the printing presses act to cover any sites hosted locally or elsewhere and then apply the law to only those people with such sites who are residing in malaysia at the material time. Then again, how can they regulate the gigantic number of online presence we see now.

    Didnt dr mamak guarantee that the Internet will not be censored? Oh that’s dr mamak we are talking about. And isnt this the clearest sign of an extremely desperate jib and his umno gang? He is definately scared of GE13 and is doing everthing he could to un-level the field.

    Do it umno. Do it jib. Clamp the Internet down. Do it if you dare.

  5. #5 by Godfather on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 - 3:14 pm

    Why do we care ? It would not dampen the illicit outflow of funds, which is really what we care about. Next question !

  6. #6 by tak tahan on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 - 3:16 pm

    Hoi cintanegara,you must say someting to your brother about this internet censorship.How man?You can’t be able to chit chat with LKS hardcore blogger soon.Where are you going to cerit birit then.Ah ya i know,saiful punya lubang kot?

  7. #7 by Godfather on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 - 3:17 pm

    Don’t worry, the gomen is just trying to learn some lessons from the little red dot down south. We can’t have all these renegades going around writing all sorts of nonsense putting down Bolehland.

    It wouldn’t affect our thrice weekly pow-wow under our rambutan tree. No lesen needed for that one.

  8. #8 by -e- on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 - 3:32 pm

    the wall street journal (1/26) reported that google is opening an office in kuala lumpur. ummm… driving investor away…. ?!

  9. #9 by tak tahan on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 - 3:46 pm

    Godfather,do you know this tree’s IP address?It seems now he can’t get us thru due to remote inconsistent connection.

  10. #10 by tak tahan on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 - 3:48 pm

    #8 should be inconsistent internet connection.

  11. #11 by -e- on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 - 3:50 pm

    Malaysia releases lab mosquitoes to fight dengue (AFP1/26):

    …and we thought we would see a detailed study. mana?

  12. #12 by monsterball on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 - 4:04 pm

    It is nice to note Lawmakers have joined in to confront Najib for what he said and promised and doing exactly..the opposite.
    Millions on Malaysians know Najib is compulsive liar…with moods and signs of a cracko PM.

  13. #13 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 - 4:11 pm

    As a compromise, a new domain called .UmnoB will b set up
    All websites with .UmnoB, eg xxx.UmnoB, will not b regulated or censored, semua OK

  14. #14 by Loh on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 - 4:33 pm

    If UMNO is out of power, all the investments and high income status would not benefit UMNO. By staying in power all the oil money which even the parliament has no access would be controlled by UMNO chief. To stay in power, the people should continue to be ignorant of how UMNO steals like in the days before internet. UMNO knows that it cannot outlaw internet, but it can outlaw the contents which would hurt UMNO’s chance at reelection. UMNO leaders clearly did not care about the welfare of the country, and so they care not about ill effects they bring to the country so long as what they try would benefit them, individually.

    NEP has helps maybe 500 bumiputras transferred half or more of the 889 billion ringgit overseas awaiting their arrival as soon as Pakatan takes over the federal government. Mamakthir declared that he would migrate if Anwar became Prime Minister. That must have been his long term planning.

  15. #15 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 - 4:37 pm

    It is advisable for Tenang voters to reject political parties which want to create a police state.

  16. #16 by perampok cinta1 on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 - 5:26 pm

    If whatever you write, be it on internet or on paper is true, then why worry? Why bother to complain unless you guys have your own hidden agenda. I know all this while, opposition widely used new media channel like blogs and independent news portal to badmouth about government. I don’t see any problem if this low being enforce. After all, it’s is to safe guard our own lovely country.
    I don’t think investors is that shallow to seethe benefit that they will get compare to the damage that will occur if we don’t control our media. Even wikileaks being block by US to safe guard their interest. Still, being opposition, whatever government does is plain wrong. Some nation do block even social network like facebook and twitter as preventive measurement to control the people. We should be very glad that we still free to say whatever we want as long as it is truthful.

  17. #17 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 - 5:37 pm

    Ha, ha, TRUTH is such a beautiful word, but would thieves n corrupt politicians allow truth 2 b exposed? Is there a need 4 Wikileaks? Can Swiss banks publish accounts of thieves?

  18. #18 by tak tahan on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 - 9:49 pm

    What complain?We are proud of your kind.Isn’t it we won this 889 billion highest category champion(nombor satu) what complain?We are admiring your art of looting fast and big big way of a professional Lanun.Ya man.i think the investor doesn’t use internet much because they are only interested in money and nothing else matters.We are the champion my frie..nd..we will be fighting till the friend,wake up la.Jangan la asyik angan angan sampai nyanyuk macam chikuteh,lu tau siapa tu tak?Tolong la..Ar yo…

  19. #19 by lee wee tak_ on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 - 10:02 pm

    conclusive proof that in war of intelligent debate and factual discourse, BN can’t hold a candle next to PR

  20. #20 by tak tahan on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 - 11:21 pm

    You wanna hold candle,yes you can and to who..??My hero FYT and our legend LKS in far far future yet and so with LGE? Like Father like Son as it should and would possibly be the legend,i believe.. The japaneae saying ‘isin den sin’no spoken words needed within father and son or close brotherhood.”Fear no one of your true self and prove to others your principal and your CAT as i’ve been carrying this baton to you” says LKS to LGE.We support you LGE,keep up your momento and consistent with your struggle,please!

  21. #21 by tak tahan on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 - 11:23 pm

    Like this wonderful song,people will remember you always..

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