Parliamentary select committee on the
regulation of Internet
Dr Tan Seng Giaw
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
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
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
National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong