Amid uproar over Facebook ban, minister says only seeking views

Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek
Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 — Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek today denied that Putrajaya was considering banning access to Facebook, saying his ministry was simply polling public sentiment on such action.

The communication and multimedia minister recently triggered uproar after he was reported as saying that the government would consider blocking access to the popular social network following a raft of complaints about provocative remarks posted by users.

“I have never said I want to ban Facebook and the government never intended to ban Facebook.

“To close Facebook at this point, it is quite impossible,” he told reporters after the launch of AirAsia’s courrier service, RedBox at the Ritz Carlton Hotel.

The minister said that in a survey with over 2,000 respondents, 54 per cent disagreed with banning access to Facebook.

Only 24 per cent wanted the social network site blocked, with Ahmad Shabery saying that most of these failed to understand the workings of the Internet.

Ahmad Shabery also pointed out that there are more than 15 million accounts registered to Malaysians, most of which are used for businesses as well as to interact with family members.

Last week, he was quoted in a Bernama report that the government is “prepared to look into the matter” if Malaysians want Facebook banned, noting it was a “radical approach”.