Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s urging to strengthen the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA) is welcomed, said the MCMC.
In a statement released today, MCMC chairperson Halim Shafie said the organisation is committed to stepping up enforcement against those who have contravened the law.
“For that purpose, the MCMC has established a dedicated enforcement team to tackle content in the social media which have breached the law or may potentially cause public alarm and unrest so that speedy regulatory action can be taken,” said Halim.
Halim added that the move is necessary because the platform has been abused by certain quarters to spread lies and promote hatred which is detrimental to public order.
“Certain provisions of the CMA will need to be amended to enhance MCMC’s enforcement role. For example, penalties for offences need to be relooked for the CMA to be more effective as a deterrent,” he said.
Halim explained that the amendment to the CMA needs to take into account the changing online environment in the past 17 years as the Act was enacted in 1998. Many things have changed now, he said. For example, in 1998, there was no social media. To address this, there should be classification of offences in the CMA as well as clarity in the corresponding regulatory actions needed.
Another trend to consider is consumers of information being producers of content now.
Halim also stressed that the review of the CMA is not just about strengthening enforcement capabilities. Many other parts of the CMA as well as the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (MCMC Act) are being reviewed taking into account the communications and multimedia industry landscape which has changed dramatically since then.
He voiced his expectation that the review of the CMA and the MCMC Act will create a healthy and conducive environment for users to use the Internet positively, apart from deterring the public from using the Internet to create alarm and instability to the country.
“The MCMC will continue to push for media literacy to create awareness and educate users to use the Internet positively through our ongoing media literacy programmes. Restricting access to content on the Internet is not always the solution. The public must be aware of the importance of using the Internet positively and responsibly.
“We have to try to avoid a situation where the majority of the population using the Internet responsibly may be affected because of a few irresponsible users. The best thing to do is to always stick to the truth,” said Halim.