Online news portals may now require registration

Online news portals may have to be registered in the future under proposed amendments to the cyber laws, The Star reported.

The changes, expected to be consolidated in October this year, may follow a similar model to the one adopted by Singapore, Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak, communica­tions and multimedia minister, said.

In an interview with The Star, Salleh said, “We are also looking at the structural aspects of MCMC and at amendments to tackle issues such as pornography, online gambling and Islamic State (IS) threats, among others. This is being done in the national interest.”

Salleh said the changes would include the MCMC having the power to block sites deemed as “threats to national security and stability”.

However, Salleh assured the media that the authorities had no plans to restrict the usage of social media.

“We cannot be monitoring every social media user. If there is a complaint and there is basis to it, we will look into it,” he explained.

Salleh added that the new proposal for cyber law amendments is not related to the 1MDB scandal: “We want comprehensive amendments. The laws were introduced in 1998, and since then, there has been a lot of developments.”

“What we want to do is to improve whatever amendments in the next parliament meeting to strengthen our social media but at the same time, be able to control the situation,” he said.

He also said that the government had no plans to lift its block on whistle-blower site Sarawak Report. The MCMC blocked access to Sarawak Report about two weeks ago, citing the interest of “national stability” as a reason for the ban. Just yesterday, authorities issued a warrant for the arrest of the site’s founder Clare Rewcastle-Brown. The body also suspended business news site The Edge for three months.