Earlier this week, Malaysia’s longest serving prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that he would introduce internet censorship if he was chosen to lead the country again. Tun Dr Mahathir made the comment when delivering the closing speech at the Senior Police Officer’s College in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur.
According to a report on The Malaysian Insider, Dr Mahathir expressed his regrets that he made a promise not to censor the Internet during his 22-year tenure as Malaysia’s PM.
“If I was appointed as the premier again, the first thing I will do is censor the internet. The time has come for us to filter the internet. Although I gave my word to the Multimedia Super Corridor adviser when I was the PM, I did not give assurances the internet would not be filtered. At that time, I did not know what could come from the internet,” he said.
Dr Mahathir added further: “We can filter the internet, even in Germany, they have long had this expertise. We can do it, we have the technology. It might be a bit costly but the returns will be worth it because Malaysians will not be exposed to negative elements such as violence in film and television.”
Malaysia might also be labelled as an undemocratic country but Dr Mahathir insisted this move would ensure internal security was preserved.
“If our country is described as unmodern, undemocratic, so be it. This is our country, we have the right to uphold internal security,” he added.
Both last year and this year has not been a good year for the ruling party Barisan Nasional (BN), which has been attacked by netizens multiple times for suspected foul plays. Recently, there was a huge hoo-ha on the media too when current Prime Minister Mohd Najib Tun Razak made an insensitive comment referencing the price hike in Malaysia to the price of Kangkung, also known as water spinach.
The opposition’s ability to leverage on the various media provided by the internet is widely acknowledged as one of the key reasons for its march in the last two general elections, especially in denying BN a two-third majority.
Dr Mahathir also added during the speech that “freedom needed to be controlled because the people are still too indisciplined and immature to practice democracy.”
“We are a young country and democracy is still new, the people do not know how to control themselves, how to discipline themselves,” he said.