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Is the Malaysia government trying to censor the kangkung story?

One of the biggest buzz among Malaysian netizens now is the #kangkung topic, which is trending on Twitter in Malaysia.

It all started when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak made a comment referencing the price hike in Malaysia to the price of Kangkung, also known as water spinach.

The Malaysia Prime Minister called out to Malaysians and requested them to “stop complaining to the government whenever there is a price hike”. He then added on asking “why did Malaysians not give thanks (or praise) the government when there is a price drop in the country”. He used “Kangkung” as a reference of a price drop in the country.

All hell broke loose then.

Due to that, BBC ran a story on the topic, but some local internet users complained last night that they were unable to access a report on the BBC’s website, leading to allegations of censorship.

BBCtrending Be careful what you say about spinach

Here are some of the difficulties in website access:

  • difficulty connecting to the story on BBC
  • difficulty viewing a YouTube video of a remix of Najib’s speech

The issues appeared to primarily affect Internet users on TM’s broadband network, with those using other internet service providers reporting sporadic success in accessing the page in question.

Internet access is ostensibly uncensored in Malaysia under the Multimedia Super Corridor’s Bill of Guarantees, but regulator Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is empowered to restrict access to objectionable content such as pornography or fraudulent websites under Section 211 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

Section 263(2) of The Communications and Multimedia Act CMA 1998 only allows blocking of a site if it is reasonably necessary in preventing the commission or attempted commission of an offence. The BBC article, has hardly committed any offence under Malaysian laws, and should not have been censored. If there was a censorship, the government would be violating the Multimedia Super Corridor Malaysia Bill of Guarantees, which specifically states that the Government would “ensure no Internet censorship.”

For now, it seems that the “censorship”, if there was any, has been lifted and Malaysians can now access the BBC article. If the government was indeed trying to censor the article, it might have been smarter if the Prime Minister was to think before making any remarks publicly, which would eventually led to international headlines.

In the meantime, here’s a couple of images created by netizens following the #kangkung statement by the Malaysia’s prime minister.

kangkung malaysia kangkung tweet what is kangkung

Read also: Philippine government sites hacked; Million Mask March to happen in Malaysia too

 

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