Malaysia

Facebook, Twitter foster national security threats, say police

By Yow Hong Chieh
March 23, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 — Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have made Malaysians “liberal” and thus more willing to commit acts that can threaten national security, the police have said.

Internal security and public order director Datuk Salleh Mat Rasid said the Internet posed a challenge to the police as it allowed people “to know what was going on in and outside the country”.

File photo of the Facebook logo displayed on a computer screen. Police say Facebook can be a security threat to the nation. — Reuters picFile photo of the Facebook logo displayed on a computer screen. Police say Facebook can be a security threat to the nation. — Reuters picThis would encourage those who have been “influenced by liberal thinking” to replicate locally what was happening in other countries, Utusan Malaysia quoted him as saying today.

“In a borderless world, human thinking will change greatly, particularly towards the liberal. They will say things which cannot be done can be done...,” he said at the 205th Police Day celebrations in Bukit Aman yesterday.

“This is what we’re afraid of because when the thinking of Malaysians is driven by negative things, specifically those that can threaten security and public order, it can lead to a situation where the country is no longer safe.”

These include the practice of holding rallies and taking part in riots as seen in Arab countries last year, Salleh pointed out.

He said it was difficult to restrict those who have been influenced by liberal thinking as Facebook and Twitter allowed them to communicate with each other easily.

The police nonetheless remained vigilant and were ready to face such a situation should it arise, he stressed.

“For me, when speaking of basic human rights, it’s stated in the Constitution that every Malaysian citizen has freedom to speak, assemble, profess a faith and so forth,” Salleh said.

“However, the freedoms enshrined in the Constitution are not absolute as they have limits, depending on regulations and laws that every citizen of this country should obey.”

He added that while the Peaceful Assembly Act was a "transformation" that allowed the people to assemble, it was still the responsibility of the police and his department to ensure the security of the nation.