An anonymous senior official with the National Security Council (NSC) has confirmed that the Malaysian government is considering introducing an internet filter to block web sites whose content could ‘inflame racial sentiments’, reports Total Telecom. A tender is currently out for companies to help the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) evaluate an internet filter. However, the opposition has expressed alarm at the move, which it says would restrict already tightly controlled information resources further.
There is an existing 1996 guarantee that the Malaysian government will not censor the internet, but the official argued the Internet has evolved since that date and now constitutes a threat to racial harmony. Indeed, with mainstream media already strictly censored, the internet has become a major tool for those who wish to criticise the ruling Barisan Nasional government. Veteran opposition legislator Lim Kit Siang, himself an avid blogger, condemned the proposed controls and urged government legislators to uphold the pledge of internet freedom.