Friday, August 7, 2009

Govt To Impose Internet Censorship Despite Promise

Internet filter is 'horror of horrors'PrintE-mail
Friday, 07 August 2009 10:06

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia is considering imposing an Internet filter to block "undesirable" websites, on the grounds of maintaining racial harmony in the multicultural nation, a senior official said.

The move was quickly condemned by the opposition which described it as a "horror of horrors" that would destroy the relative freedom of the Internet in Malaysia, where the mainstream press is tightly controlled.

A senior official with the National Security Council (NSC) confirmed reports that the coalition government was considering imposing controls - effectively scrapping a 1996 guarantee that it would not censor the Internet.

"It is to keep out pornographic materials and bloggers who inflame racial sentiments. We need to maintain racial harmony. We cannot have full-blown democracy like in the United States," he told AFP.

"This country must survive," said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

'Green Dam' project

The memory of bloody racial 1969 racial riots is still strong in Malaysia, and the need to preserve peace between majority Muslim Malays, and minority ethnic Chinese and Indians, is commonly invoked by the government.

The NSC official dismissed suggestions that the proposal echoed China's aborted "Green Dam" project, a plan to introduce Internet filtering software on all new computers sold in the country.

"It is not like China's Green Dam nor is it a plan sparked by last weekend's anti-government street protests," he said, referring to a massive opposition-led rally against laws that allow for detention without trial.

Malaysia's lively blogosphere has been a thorn in the side of the Barisan Nasional government, which was been in power for more than half a century but was dealt its worst ever results in elections a year ago.

Internet news portals and blogs, which escape tight controls on the mainstream media, were credited as a key element in the swing towards the opposition which has been adept at using new media to communicate its ideas.

lim-kit-siang.pngVeteran opposition legislator Lim Kit Siang, himself an avid blogger, condemned the proposed controls and urged government legislators to uphold the pledge of Internet freedom.

"(The plan) will be seen as a turn away from an open society and retreat to a closed society with all the grave long-term political, economic and nation-building implications," he said.

Control access

The NSC official said that a tender was out for companies to help the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission evaluate an Internet filter.

The "Green Dam" regulation was to be implemented in China on July 1, but widespread opposition both in and outside of China resulted in Beijing backing down.

Beijing had said the Chinese-made Green Dam software would filter out pornography, protecting young people within the world's largest online population.

But trade and rights groups expressed fears that it was another attempt by China to control access to the Internet. - AFP

Source: Malaysian Mirror


MSC Malaysia 10 Point Bill of Guarantees

As part of its commitment to ensure the success of MSC Malaysia Status companies, the Malaysian Government promises to fulfill the following Bill of Guarantees:

1. Provide a world-class physical and information infrastructure

2. Allow unrestricted employment of local and foreign knowledge workers.

3. Ensure freedom of ownership by exempting companies with MSC Malaysia Status from local ownership requirements.

4. Give the freedom to source capital globally for MSC Malaysia infrastructure, and the right to borrow funds globally.

5. Provide competitive financial incentives, including no income tax for up to 10 years or an investment tax allowance, and no duties on import of multimedia equipment.

6. Become a regional leader in intellectual property protection and cyberlaws

7. Ensure no Internet censorship.

8. Provide globally competitive telecommunications tariffs.

9. Tender key MSC Malaysia infrastructure contracts to leading companies willing to use the MSC Malaysia as their regional hub.

10. Provide an effective one-stop agency - the Multimedia Development Corporation.

Source: Malaysia-Today


By Admin:

What the Government should be doing is to upgrade Internet infrastructure in order for subscribers to access the Internet at a much greater speed as opposed to now, than to think about censorship at all!

As it is, subscribers are at the mercy of ISPs who are fleecing their customers by "providing" inefficient services. The experience of surfing the Internet now is one of frustration. Subscribers are looking forward to the day when surfing the Internet is an enjoyable experience, come rain or shine! CIAO!

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