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Parliamentary select committee on the regulation of Internet

Media Statement
by Dr Tan Seng Giaw  


(Kuala Lumpur, Wednesday) : I call for the formation of a parliamentary select committee on the regulation of Internet, blogging and 2.0 virtual world.

I proposed the establishment of Internet select committee in a speech at the DAP forum 'Silencing Cyberspace - The Final Frontier?' at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Kuala Lumpur, on 6 February, 2007.

The rapid development of Internet, blogging, 2.0 virtual world and so forth has changed the world, making the Government nervous. In some countries, occasonal Internet users and bloggers are prosecuted like in Brazil and South Korea. In Malaysia, action has been taken on a few Internet users, the latest being an injunction against Jeff Ooi and a writ of summons against Ahiruddin Attan (Rocky's Bru) by the New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad. Both defendants are popular bloggers.

Blogging is expanding very fast, being used more extensively such as by the business world, the corporate sector and lawyers. It is estimated that the number of bloggers increases by at least 75,000 a day in the world. In Malaysia, there are over 8.6 million people on Internet. We are not certain of the number of bloggers. It is increasing, but it has not yet reached rural areas. However, Internet users are having more powerful personal computers, such as PCs of one gigabyte to overcome congestion. Hard drive of 800 gigabytes and one terabyte appear in the market. The Government is taking notice.

What are the implications and consequences of legal action against bloggers. Although the cyberlaws passed in 1998 are commercially motivated, the Government is thinking of how to overcome its promise to have no censorship on Internet. It is an incentive to investors as long as the Government sticks to its promise.

What value does the Government place on a blog that carries items that are not favourable to the ruling alliance? What type of regulation will the Government impose on Internet including blogging before its effects on the electorate become overwhelming.

We need a parliamentary select committee on the regulation of Internet. This committee should submit a credible report between six to 12 months unlike some other select committees such as the select committee on national service that has not presented any report after over a year.

We should have select committees not just in parliament, but also similar committees all over the country. What do Malaysians like to see in Internet? What type of freedom of expression? What model of regulation on Internet, if any?




*Dr Tan Seng Giaw ,  DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong

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