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Rais: No hasty action against govt critics

KUALA LUMPUR, 14 April 2009: The Information, Communications, Arts and Culture Ministry will not take hasty actions against government critics as long as they do not flout the Communications and Multimedia Act.

“We are planning to hold a briefing session on the act for bloggers. If they do not heed the advice, we will be firm on them,” said minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.

“To implement a policy, we have to be firm. But the legal redress will be our last resort,” he said.

Rais divided bloggers into three types — one who wrote the truth, another who exploited the sentiment of the people, and the last one, who churned out inaccurate facts and made wild allegations.

“The third type of bloggers is breaking the law. When the law is not respected, the country will be in disarray. I plan to enlighten the bloggers on the act when I meet them soon,” he said.

Rais also said that despite its wide-ranging scope, the ministry would be able to execute its functions more effective by dividing the tasks correctly.

To this end, he said the ministry would beef up its “thinkers” and formulate clearer polices and instructions to ensure its effectiveness.

Rais said he would give his deputies, Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum and Senator Heng Seai Kie specific tasks to make the ministry more efficient.

“We do not have to change the ministry’s philosophy. The ministry has more sting with the enforcement of the Communications and Multimedia Act, and the role of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission.

“With the powers vested in the ministry, it will make nation building easier,” he told reporters at the handing over of duties ceremony at Angkasapuri here today.

Rais takes over from Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek who has been appointed Youth and Sports Minister.

Rais, who was Information Minister from 1984 to 1986, said although there was hardly any difference in the ministry’s functions during his tenure and now, what was more pertinent was enhancing the quality of services to the people.

“The ministry will champion the use of Bahasa Melayu, uphold the National Language Act and help realise the 1Malaysia concept advocated by the prime minister,” he said.

Rais said the integration of the communication divisions would enable the ministry to expand the enforcement of the Communications and Multimedia Act to encompass private television and radio networks.

The feedback from the people will be of great value to the ministry in formulating its policies, he said, adding that officers would be trained to acquaint themselves with the policies. — Bernama



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