Cyber laws to be reviewed to curb IT, social media abuse, Azalina says

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said speaking at Parliament, July 26, 2016. — Bernama pic
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said speaking at Parliament, July 26, 2016. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, July 26 — The country’s cyber laws will be studied and enhanced to prevent abuse of information technology (IT) and social media, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

She said the move was necessary based on developments today which saw the influence of social media playing a major role in the lives of the people.

“It cannot be denied the benefits of social media as an easy, quick and cheap agent of communication. But, the trend of cyber attacks as well as abuse of social media is seen as getting rampant,” she told a media conference after attending the 2016 Student Parliamentary Session lunch here today.

She said certain parties were abusing social media with the aim to commit fraud, recruit terrorists and plant hatred against the government as well as disrupting national harmony.

Azalina stressed that the government did not intend to curtail the freedom to voice and the right to use cyber space, but studies on the legal cyber limits needed to be made to protect users from becoming victims.

“The review is aimed at looking at the balancing point between a user’s freedom and responsibility,” she said.

Azalina was earlier reported as saying a special cyber court to try crimes under cyber laws was expected to be operational in Kuala Lumpur next month, followed by Selangor and Johor.

In this regard, she supported the statement of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday that the government wanted the individuals named in the US Department of Justice report pertaining to 1 Malaysia Development Berhad to clear their respective names to ensure there was no abuse of the public funds as reported.

“I think that in any civil or criminal cases, the defendants must clear their names. That’s the principle of jurisprudence,” she said, noting that Malaysia is a civilised country where people are innocent until proven guilty.

“But what’s happening now is that people are using the opportunity to say you are guilty until proven innocent,” she said, adding this was totally unacceptable.

On the Student Parliamentary Programme, Azalina said it had become an effective platform for students to sharpen their leadership talent through rational and academic debates.

“The government feels it needs to be continued so that more students could get exposure on the process of debate and functions of parliament as a legislative body,” she said. — Bernama

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