UPDATE: The Malaysian Insider to shut down, Borneo Post Online
(Photo credit: Malaysia Chronicle)
You know things are bad when even opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is willing to support his “arch nemesis” aka former PM Mahathir Mohamad in demanding current PM Najib Razak to resign. Razak is currently battling corruption allegations in the state fund 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
(Photo credit: I Am Politikus)
In protest, the former prime minister has even quit the party, the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO). (And I thought I would never see the day.)
On the cyber side of things, the government has also blocked online news portal, The Malaysian Insider, after it published a story on 1MDB. The official explanation: “National security,” of course. Not the government’s first rodeo in censoring the Internet, however. It has also previously blocked access to The Sarawak Report, Asia Sentinel, and Medium after they published similarly controversial articles. The United States has criticized Malaysia for restricting press freedom, but it’s not like that did anything (Malaysia defended its decision).
Furthermore, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission said that it has “blocked 52 new media websites and investigated 14 social media abuse cases since the setting up of the Special Committee to Combat Abuse of Social Media in January.” I wonder how does this Special Committee work? Most likely not transparent or accountable to the people.
- A team of UMNO lawyers is now on call to assist elected representatives “take legal action against those who spread false and defamatory rumours about them on social media.” (The Malay Mail Online, March 8)
- “The American Bar’s Centre for Human Rights, in its report, says the application of Malaysia’s Sedition Act violates international standards and is far more restrictive than other Commonwealth nations with similar laws.” (Free Malaysia Today, March 8)
- “Malaysian Internet Censorship is Going from Bad to Worse,” Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), March 7
- DAP’s Kit Siang: “PM underestimates Malaysians’ ability to get around restrictions and blocks on media.” (Free Malaysia Today, March 5)
- “Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak should learn how to read the law properly in order not to mislead less-informed Malaysians of their constitutional guarantees, rights advocates said after the communications and multimedia minister asserted free speech to be a “privilege”.” (The Malay Mail Online, March 4)