(Sept. 9, 2010) On September 3, 2010, it was reported that the Malaysian government had established a taskforce to examine Internet postings that may be harmful to national unity. (Ng Cheng Yee, Task Force to Look Out for Sensitive Matter on Internet, THE STAR ONLINE (Sept. 3, 2010), http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/9/3/nation/6974745&s
ec=nation.) The police, Internet regulators, the Information Ministry, and the Attorney-General's chambers will be involved in the taskforce. The Deputy Secretary-General for Security at the Ministry of Home Affairs was quoted as saying that the new unit is “a mechanism that will co-ordinate these various agencies to help monitor what is being said in cyberspace and to take action against those that are trying to stoke racial tensions.” (Malaysian Web Crackdown, THE AGE (Sept. 4, 2010), http://www.theage.com.au/technology/technology-news/malaysian-web-crackd
Malaysia is a multi-cultural country and the concept of “One Malaysia” (or 1Malaysia) is the subject of a campaign aimed at enhancing “unity in diversity.” (1Malaysia website, http://www.1malaysia.com.my/index.php?option=com_content&view=articl
e&id=358&Itemid=70&lang=en (last visited Sept. 7, 2010).) This initiative is led by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, and the concept is often referred to in discussions about various government policies and activities.
In the context of Internet postings, the government is concerned about what it sees as the “disturbing trend now appearing on the Internet where some people are inciting racial unrest and causing confusion and this will damage the peace we have in the country.” (Govt to Monitor Internet for 'Harmful' Blogs, MALAYSIA TODAY (Sept. 3, 2010), http://www.malaysia-today.net/mtcolumns/newscommentaries/34278-govt-to-m
Several investigations relating to Internet postings are currently underway. For example, police are investigating a Facebook page that insulted Muslim Malays and are also considering whether charges should be laid against an ethnic Chinese rapper for posting a video on YouTube criticizing a Malay headmistress who has been accused of making racial slurs against minority students. In addition, charges have recently been laid against a journalist in relation to a satirical blog that mocked a state energy company. (Id.)
The taskforce will also monitor alternative and mainstream media for this type of content. The Prime Minister recently expressed the view that “the mainstream media was now faced with intense competition from new media like blogs and websites that were more based on the perspective of the individual and did not provide news based on accurate facts.” He therefore encouraged mainstream media to “hold fast to its role as providers of factual based reporting and well-thought out opinions, intellectual [sic] and based on the actual facts.” (PM Asks Mainstream Media to Continue Reporting News Based on Facts, BERNAMA (Sept. 2, 2010), http://www.pmo.gov.my/?menu=newslist&news_id=4619&news_cat=13&am