No plans to restrict Telegram use, says Zahid

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Putrajaya does not intend to emulate Indonesia's move to block popular messaging application Telegram, said Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said although Indonesia had done so to prevent terrorism, Malaysian authorities have not been able to draw the link between terrorism and the use of Telegram.

However, Zahid's claim contradicts court evidence used to secure convictions against Islamic State sympathisers, including the duo who were convicted of the 2016 Movida night club bombing.

The two - Wahyudin Karjono and Jonius Ondie @ Jahali - were accused of participating in the "black crow" chat group through the Telegram application.

The authorities also claim that university student Siti Noor Aishah was in contact Islamic State operatives in Syria through the same application.

Telegram is a popular messaging application that offers users security features normally not seen in similar applications.

According to the Middle East Media Research Institute, these features had made Telegram the "app of choice" for terrorist groups, particularly the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda.

Respecting consumer rights

Zahid said that Putrajaya respected the rights of consumers and would not interfere.

"Based on observations by the home ministry, especially by the Anti-Terrorism Unit and the police special branch, the application (Telegram) has so far not been used in matters related to crime or for recruiting or raising funds for terrorist activities," he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur today, according to Bernama.

He said the government would continuously monitor the use of social media applications to detect activities which slanted towards terrorism.

Ahmad Zahid said the government also had some decoding methods to monitor methods used by Daesh for the dissemination of its ideology, recruiting members and obtaining funds via social media or online communication platforms.

He said the monitoring of the authorities found that the spread of elements of violence through other applications such as YouTube, WhatsApp and Instagram existed.



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