Earlier, the Malaysian Home Ministry claimed that it was working closely with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to set up firewalls to ensure censored content does not get viewed by Malaysians.
The move has pulled in much criticism, with many calling it regressive.
Editor of The Malaysian Insider Jahabar Sadiq is one of these. “To be fair, Malaysia has never proclaimed that the Internet will be free of censorship or control, definitely not a place for free speech,” he said. Will it take place? This might not even matter. Technology has advanced to a state where the firewalls will redundant, he said, talking about VPNs and other methods available to access blocked sites.
“It will cost Malaysians not only their basic freedoms, but also hurt an industry that is global in nature and one that can be as competitive as others around the world,” said Jahabar.
“A confident government can still police the internet with current laws, rather than put firewalls and restrictions. Simply put, I believe this is the continuation of an old agenda to extend control over the Internet,” said Jahabar. Jahabar added that this is not the first time the government has tried to take control over what is said online. The government also mulled firewall practices in 2009 and 2010.
“If anything, this is just another attempt to frighten Malaysians to toe the line according to the government of the day. Nothing more,” he concluded.
Lion & Lion’s head of technology, Simon Stubben said that if approved, the move is ultimately a loss for the users who will miss out on important information.
“It is a shame that control is being enforced to the Internet here by gagging the freedom of speech. This country implemented the freedom of speech, hence, they should not be limiting the Internet,” said Stubben.
Digital social media, he added is very important today because of how it is being used and the speed it is being used at. Stubben added that digital marketing is an open media and “restraining the internet may cause some setbacks for agencies and brands to reach customers.”