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PUBLISHED: Jan 16, 2016 10:00pm

‘Malaysia must adopt new laws that are more focused on social media abuse’

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HAZAWANI ARIFFIN By:
Hazawani Ariffin

RIGHTS Foundation chairman Yusmadi Mohd Yusof says Malaysia must adopt new laws that follow current developments and is more focused on the misuse of social media. — File pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 16, 2016:

The sharing of information taken from another individual, without their awareness or knowledge, containing elements of incitement and slander are offences punishable by law, said legal expert Foong Cheng Leong.

He said Malaysia currently had laws on communication offences involving social media, but the government faced difficulties in detecting all the cases that occurred.

“The sharing or dissemination of any information that is libelous or slanderous are clear offences under the law. Doing these things intentionally or unintentionally is completely irrelevant in cases that involved social media.

“Malaysia has the legislation (needed), but it is difficult for the government to control the activities in social media as there is no party monitoring all the data that goes in and out,” he told The Rakyat Post when contacted recently.

He added that all social media users should take their own precautions to avoid becoming victims, apart from depending on the law, because it was impossible for authorities to track every movement in the social media.

“Users must be very careful in using these social media platforms as it is becoming more and more difficult for authorities to track down misconduct by offenders.

“However, the function of social media cannot be reduced as it should be viewed as a healthy approach. If we withdraw the ‘comment’ box on Facebook, then there will not be any healthy discussion,” he said.

However RIGHTS Foundation chairman Yusmadi Mohd Yusof said Malaysia must adopt new laws that followed current developments and was more focused on the misuse of social media.

“So far the laws are of a more general nature that allow abuse among social media users. The law must keep up with the dynamics of social media.

“There is no doubt that the social media trend in Malaysia is still very new, but the law should be amended and specialised in dealing with cases involving the use of social media,” said the former Balik Pulau parliamentarian.

However, he said social media should not be controlled because it was more beneficial to society if it was used in a more positive direction.

“One cannot simply predict whether a bit of information could do harm to others, this is due to the dynamic nature of the virtual world which was beyond human control.

“It is more effective and practical if laws were amended and fine-tuned to bring justice to such cases (of abuse),” he said.

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