Will Malaysia ban Telegram?

A screenshot of Zulkarnain speaking during an interview on June 5, 2023. Photo credit: RTM on YouTube

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By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, June 6: Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is currently considering all risks and may take a drastic action against instant messaging platform Telegram to tackle scams and cyberthreats.

MCMC Chief Regulatory Officer Zulkarnain Mohd Yasin said MCMC has no direct contact with the administrator for compliance or a legal team at Telegram.

“Although they are able to act on taking down content, what happened was we have to go through a group of volunteers to assist with a takedown request.

“Compare this to other platforms, where we can directly contact their administrator for compliance or a legal team, and there is a two-way communication for us to express our perspective on why the content must be taken down,” he said during an interview on RTM yesterday (June 5).

Previously, it was reported that Telegram has been unwilling to cooperate with the Ministry of Communications and Digital despite repeated requests for a meeting since January.

Zulkarnain said a Telegram representative has responded that they refused to cooperate with the Ministry as the platform did not want to be involved in issues related to politics.

“However, our issue is not about political debate or blocking freedom of expression but instead to curb cyberthreats, which is a bigger issue,” he added.

He also mentioned that back in 2019 or 2020, Telegram was ranked 11th when it comes to platforms used for online criminal activities but their rank has jumped to the top five today.

He further said that despite efforts of educating the public on cybersecurity and online scams, the number of victims and cases have seen an increase recently. — DayakDaily