MCMC proposes tighter regulations on WhatsApp

WhatsApp group administrators in Malaysia will have to be more careful, moving forward. According to various media reports, a proposal to impose legal action on WhatsApp group administrators has been floated by Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) in Malaysia. The proposal is, however, yet to be approved.

A+M has reached out to Whatapp for a comment.

Deputy Minister of Communications and Multimedia, Jailani Johari, in a statement to Berita Harian, explained that the proposal aims to ensure that group administrators act as gatekeepers and are more responsible when it comes to controlling and curbing activities of their group members. This also includes restricting dissemination of false news. Offenses committed on social media, or the internet, falls under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1990 and jurisdictions such as the Sedition Act 1948, Official Secrets Act (OSA) 1972 and the Penal Code.

Moreover, the Muslim Consumer Association of Malaysia also seems to be in full support of this proposal. In another statement to Bernama, the association's chief activist, Nadzin Johan, said that the move was "fair and necessary". He explained that this move will not only establish a more responsible society but will also ensure that users are more careful about the kind of information they share with other group members.

He further explained in a statement said that the habit of spreading false information in society has escalated. The habit as such represents the "culture of an underdeveloped society". He explained that failure to check the authenticity of a piece of information can have an adverse impact on the functioning of the society.

But, there is a need for these platforms to be regulated.

However, The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) and Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) in an article by Free Malaysia Today said that before implementing the proposal, they needs to be a guideline on how social media platforms like WhatsApp should be manages,

MTUC president Abdul Halim Mansorm in a statement said that the move is too drastic without having a regulation in place. Shamsuddin Bardan, MEF executive director, similarly urged in the article that the goverment should first launch a campaign about the 'dos and don'ts' before taking such a huge step.