Communications Ministry preparing cabinet paper on anti-cyberbullying laws

Malaysia has some legislation on cybersecurity, but does not have any specific law to deal with cyberbullying. — AFP pic
Malaysia has some legislation on cybersecurity, but does not have any specific law to deal with cyberbullying. — AFP pic

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PUTRAJAYA, March 7— The Communications and Multimedia Ministry (KKMM) is preparing a Cabinet paper on anti-cyberbullying laws, said its minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

He said while Malaysia has some legislation on cybersecurity, it does not have any specific law to deal with cyberbullying.

This was unlike neighbouring countries like Singapore and the Philippines, which have implemented anti-cyberbullying laws, he added.

“We better be prepared (with laws) because things can actually get worse (on cyberbullying),” he said in a press conference on the One-Year Malaysia Prihatin achievements of the ministry under the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.

Last year, a teenage girl from Penang leapt to her death from a condominium after her ‘boyfriend’ threatened to upload her private photos on the social media platform.

Saifuddin said about 85 per cent of respondents in a survey conducted by the Multimedia University (MMU) said a specific law should be formulated to tackle cyberbullying.

“Even the definition of offences under cyberbully has yet to be formulated, so we have to come out with a draft,” he said, adding that many people did not know where they should go to report cases of cyberbullying.

On proposed amendments to the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia Act 1981 (Act 244), Saifuddin said the process has started, with the aim of bringing the Act in line with current needs.

“Basically, it’s not about controlling; it is about facilitation,” he said, adding that KKMM was also mulling to formulate the Music Corporation Act to facilitate and protect the music industry.

Saifuddin had earlier been reported as saying that the proposed amendments to Act 244 would involve several major matters regarding the position of social media users who produce materials shared on the platform, the enhancement of existing regulations and giving new definitions to certain provisions in the Act.

He also said the Act needed to be amended because when it was passed in Parliament in 1981 there were no social media tools like Tik Tok and YouTube.

On plans to strengthen the local creative industry, Saifuddin said KKMM was working with the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) to gather specific data on art practitioners, including film directors, composers, musicians and lyric writers.

He said DOSM was conducting a census on art practitioners with the cooperation of relevant agenices like the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry, National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas), Cultural Economy Development Agency (Cendana) and Radio Televisyen Malaysia.

The creative sector contributed RM29.4 billion to the Gross Domestic Product in 2019 and provided job opportunities to 859,900 individuals.

The RM89.2 million Malaysian Creative Industry Stimulus Package (Prisma) which was launched recently would also help art practitioners to produce works and revive the creative industry, which was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, he added.

Saifuddin said Prisma would benefit more than 9,000 art practitioners, apart from creating more than 40,000 job opportunities.

He hoped that the creative industry would become one of the key growth sectors under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) for 2021-2025.  — Bernama

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