Cops now in charge of social media abusers, communications minister says

Mohd Salleh said that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission will be placing police officers within their investigations department to better coordinate among agencies. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Mohd Salleh said that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission will be placing police officers within their investigations department to better coordinate among agencies. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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CYBERJAYA, Jan 20 ― A special federal oversight committee has decided that the police will take charge of all investigations on social media abuse, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Salleh Said Keruak announced today.

He added that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) would also be placing police officers within their investigations department to better coordinate among agencies.

"We have decided that investigations will be led by the police, with the help of MCMC, and the Attorney General's Chambers that have appointed a deputy public prosecutor for this purpose," he told reporters after attending the soft launch of Malaysia Social Media Week 2016 here at Limkokwing University.

"The decision was made to coordinate our actions, and we have identified the laws, within which we can utilise together to take action against social media abuse."

Chaired by Mohd Salleh, the committee which seeks to crack down on Internet users who abuse the tool for defamation and incitement to belittle or instill hatred towards government institutions, met for the first time yesterday.

Mohd Salleh said the first meeting was attended by Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abdu Bakar, Attorney General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, and the MCMC chairman.

In his speech during the event, he had told the crowd of social media enthusiasts of the committee's meet, and asked that social media users not misinterpret the purpose of the committee's formation.

"It is done with the best intention of protecting public interest," he said.

"It is a safeguard and pre-emptive measure to avoid the social media from causing unnecessary havoc by spreading lies, hatred and religious extremism, among others," he added.

MCMC had last year blocked the website of electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 along with several other sites promoting the Bersih 4 rally, which called for government reforms and sought to pressure Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to step down.

UK-based website Sarawak Report was also blocked following its articles alleging funds being channelled from state-owned 1Malaysia Development Berhad into Najib's personal accounts.

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