PM moots social media curbs after Low Yat brawl turned racial online

Many IT shops are shuttered following a brawl the previous day, Customers are seen at Low Yat Plaza, Kuala Lumpur, July 13, 2015. —  Picture by Saw Siow Feng
Many IT shops are shuttered following a brawl the previous day, Customers are seen at Low Yat Plaza, Kuala Lumpur, July 13, 2015. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, July 13 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak has suggested stricter Internet controls following the brawl at Low Yat Plaza last night, claiming the incident was made into a racial issue because the social media was “too free”.

As such, the prime minister said it was now necessary to look into existing Internet laws to better regulate its content in the future.

“We have freedom on social media so there’s a problem because it’s too free in this instance, so this is something that should be thoroughly researched,” he said during a press conference after giving out goods to the homeless in Kuala Lumpur today.

He also urged the public not to easily believe information spread on social media without first verifying its validity.

“So I urge we don’t easily accept what is spread on social media and it is better we remain calm and hand this over to the authorities because the police have the ability to guard the peace and ensure this case and other instances can be determined fairly,” he added.

Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, better known as Ku Nan, then accused online news portals of spreading false information regarding last night’s fight.

“You are all the cause of all this. You are all the cause of what’s happening, you write all the rubbish,” he said after a reporter revealed that she was from an online news portal.

A riot broke out at Low Yat Plaza in the city centre last night that reportedly left five people injured after a Malay man was caught by security guards at the complex for allegedly stealing a mobile phone from a Chinese trader and handed over to the police Saturday.

The youth later reportedly contacted his friends who reacted by heading to the store where the attempted theft allegedly happened, where they then assaulted the shop workers and vandalised the store resulting in losses estimated at RM70,000, according to national newswire Bernama.

A mob then gathered at the shopping centre last night and fights broke out.

City police chief Datuk Tajuddin Md Isa told Malay Mail Online earlier today that the case is being probed as theft but the police are considering a new file on sedition after several groups involved in the melee flashed the race card.

Najib also posted on his Facebook page earlier today that those who attempt to destroy peace and public order in multiracial Malaysia will face legal action especially the Sedition Act.

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