'Beware Internet use', Malaysia warns
The Malaysian government has warned against excessive use of micro-blogging sites like Facebook and Twitter, arguing that they could erode the country's culture, a report said Sunday.
Rais Yatim, the information and communication minister, said Muslims and other religious groups must be wary of the Internet as it was introduced by the West.
"We are not saying they cannot use Facebook or Twitter, but when using such facilities, they must upkeep the values taught by Islam, Buddhism or Christianity to maintain our culture," he was quoted as saying by the New Sunday Times newspaper.
Rais said users must not be influenced by what they see and hear when using the Internet.
"We must be strong in our belief and culture because the identity and image of our country depends on us," he said.
The government decided last August not to implement a controversial plan to create an Internet filter blocking "undesirable" websites after coming under fire from rights groups.
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 the 2008 elections.
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.