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Malaysia Entertainment Media News Society

Social Media Licensing Facing Backlash in Malaysia

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Malaysia’s plans to license social media and messaging platforms, subjecting them to greater government oversight, has sparked increasing concern in recent weeks.

Special Select Committee on Nation Building, Education and Human Resources Development chairman Saifuddin Abdullah says that it has been briefed on the issue by top officials from the communications ministry as well as the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

The committee has asked for a detailed report on the takedown requests going back to 2020 and by categories such as scams, pornography, and political content “to better understand the landscape and what kind of regulatory powers are needed by the authorities.”

44 organizations and 23 individual activists have issued a letter to Malaysia’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim decrying the licensing proposal as a “blatant abuse of power” and “an attack on a healthy, functioning democracy” that “shrinks public participation.”

According to TikTok, Malaysia’s government made the world’s highest number of requests to take down content in the second half of 2023, with such demands surging multiple-fold during Ibrahim’s first year in power.

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