In the past few days, the Malaysian government has been criticised for its handling of the flood disasters that have affected several states. Netizens have gone on social media to slam “disaster tourists” and ministers who wasted time on ceremonies instead of mobilising flood relief efforts.
It appears that authorities are cracking down on tweets that criticise the government as highlighted by Twitter user @BadBoy2662. Yesterday, he received an email from Twitter informing him that a request has been made by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to remove his tweets claiming that it violated the laws of Malaysia.
MCMC koyak dan complain diatas 2 tweet.— Joker 🏴 (@BadBoy2662) December 22, 2021
1. Rina Harun buat majlis derma banjir
2. Noh Omar cakap PPS tak daftar, mangsa tak layak dapat bantuan.
So far, Twitter tak layan request MCMC. 😋
Kerajaan nak tutup mulut Rakyat?!
According to the email, Twitter has not taken any action on the reported content. However, as a strong believer in defending and respecting the voice of its users, Twitter says it is their policy to inform users if they receive a legal request from an authorised entity to remove content from users’ accounts. Twitter also advised @BadBoy2662 to take appropriate action to protect his/her interest and this may include seeking legal counsel or voluntarily deleting the content.
Based on the links mentioned in the email, the MCMC apparently has requested the removal of two tweets which include criticism of Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Rina Harun and his criticism on a news report about flood victims not being eligible to receive cash aid if they seek refuge at unregistered food relief centres. .
Besides @BadBoy2662, other Twitter users have also received similar notices by Twitter about reports made by the MCMC. Netizens have criticised the MCMC’s swift action on criticism towards the government while not doing enough to tackle online sexual harassment, scams and misinformation.
Early this year, the MCMC had its own Twitter controversy after it reminded internet users to be polite and courteous when sharing their views online. It said anyone caught sharing offensive content can be charged under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998 which carries a penalty of up to RM50,000, a year in prison, or both. Shortly after that, netizens have dug up old tweets from MCMC’s account which are considered offensive.
Eventually, the MCMC claimed that the account was “hacked”, and it was suspended a few hours later. It was later revealed that the MCMC had taken over an existing Twitter account that belonged to a teen sometime in 2015 without deleting the old tweets. The telecommunications regulator has recently created a new Twitter account with the handle @MCMC_Rasmi.