PETALING JAYA, 12 June 2000: Gerakan Youth is against a Home Ministry proposal to use the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 on the internet media.
Youth chief Lim Si Pin criticised the suggestion by the ministry’s secretary-general, Datuk Mahmood Adam, who was reported in the China Press recently as saying that the act might be used to regulate the online media.
Lim said Gerakan Youth was concerned with this possibility, adding that this would hinder the growth of democratic ideals.
“Any effort to impose strict controls or conditions on the flow and exchange of information in the internet domain is certainly a futile act and one that will only hurl our society back into the dark ages. Freedom of ideas and information is necessary for the progress of society,” Lim said in a statement today.
Calling for engagement rather than restrictions, Lim said the creation of more laws that allow internet censorship would be counter-productive. He noted that existing laws such as the Penal Code and the Sedition Act were adequate.
Restricting the internet media would also go against the Multimedia Super Corridor Malaysia’s Bill of Guarantees, where freedom of information is upheld.
“Point seven of the 10 points in the Bill provides that the Malaysian government promises to ensure that there is no internet censorship. It is vital that this promise is fulfilled,” Lim said.
Lim added that the “method of control” was more important rather than creating new laws.
“This is not to say that no control is needed. [But] it is better to engage and manage rather than enforce restrictions, especially more so when they come in the form of laws,” he said.