Communications and Multimedia Deputy Minister Datuk Jailani Johari said as of March, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) had investigated 32 cases of misuse of the Internet and new media under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.
“The offences, such as defamation or dissemination of false news via the Internet are subjected to existing laws such as the Defamation Act 1957, Sedition Act 1948 and the Penal Code (Act 574), as well as the Communications and Multimedia Act,” he said.
He was responding to a question from Senator Datuk Seri Boon Som Inong who wanted to know the number of Malaysians having social media accounts such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram and Instagram.
As of January, a total of 20.62 million Malaysians had social media accounts, said Jailani.
To strengthen the regulatory mechanism of the Internet and new media, he said the government had set up the Special Committee to Combat Abuse of Social Media, which was led by the ministry and participated by the MCMC, police and the attorney-general’s chambers.
“The committee is also set up to strengthen coordination and cooperation between agencies in order to monitor and combat the abuse of the Internet and new media,” he said.
For long-term initiatives, he said the government would amend the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and MCMC Act to improve the existing regulatory framework and enforcement.
“It aims to strengthen the provisions of the Act, including taking into account the technological changes over the last 18 years,” he said.
Jailani also advised social media users to practise self-regulation when using the Internet.
Replying to a supplementary question from Boon, on whether the ministry intended to overhaul the traditional method of communication used by the Information Department, the deputy minister said the ministry had several approaches on the matter.
Apart from face-to-face approach, he said the department was using the advocate, defence and attack strategies to manage the issue of Internet abuse.