MCMC To Take Stern Action And Regulate Digital Content To Tackle Online Harms
By Digital News Asia May 21, 2023
- US$264.4 mil has been lost to scams between 2021 and April 2023
- 11,858 scam complaints have been received between Oct 2022 and April 2023
The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is now looking to review the current self-regulatory framework as it was found that there is an increasing level of content that is being exploited by criminals and those seeking to threaten public safety and national harmony. Some Over-The-Top (OTT) applications and social media platforms have not been effective at self-regulating the use of their platforms in line with Malaysia’s laws and national interests. Therefore, stricter regulatory oversight and intervention by the regulator are needed to protect the public interest and users.
“MCMC will not tolerate the continuing and escalating abuse of online platforms and telecommunications, network or online facilities for the purposes of facilitating scams, malicious cyber activities, frauds, phishing, content that threaten racial stability, religious harmony and showing contempt for the Rulers. We will act against those who violate the laws. MCMC, as a member of National Scam Response Centre (NSRC), together with the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and National Anti-Financial Crime Centre (NFCC), aims to continue our joint efforts in combating such fraud issues via such stern actions against the offenders,” says MCMC Chairman, Mohamad Salim Fateh (pic).
The concern comes after the observation of the increasing number of scams. Since the inception of the NSRC in October 2022, a total of 11,858 scam complaints have been received as of April 2023. Meanwhile, statistics obtained from the Commercial Crime unit of the PDRM for the period between 2021 and April 2023 revealed, losses as a result from scam amounted to US$264.4 million (RM1.2 billion). In the meantime, from 2021 to April 2023, 2,125 fake news have been reported to MCMC.
According to MCMC, upon reviewing the number of abuses and harm caused left unchecked by the platform providers, it strongly recommends regulatory oversight and intervention to curb this issue. According to MCMC, such intervention should include imposing and enforcing obligations on those who operate such platforms and those who profit from digitalisation to take strong and verifiable measures to ensure that their platforms or networks are not used as a forum to break Malaysia’s laws or threaten the public interest.
MCMC notes that industry peers and regulators in Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia have recently or are in the process of enacting laws to regulate and criminalise fraudsters on some of these platforms and to hold accountable those platforms that fail to follow Government’s directives by allowing malicious activities such as advertising scams on their platforms or taking insufficient steps to curb such activities.As the regulator of the converged industry in Malaysia, the MCMC assures it will also be reviewing the regulatory approach to enable a higher degree of oversight through the current legal instruments. This may include a review of the exemptions on certain activities as well as imposing criminal sanctions and punitive orders against entities that wilfully refuse to take immediate steps to ensure that criminal activities occurring on their network or platform are stopped.
These joint actions and efforts taken by MCMC are crucial to ensure that people are protected and have a safe environment in the digital realm, says the MCMC. It will also ensure greater accountability and respect for national sovereignty and, at the same time, enhance further consumer protection against online harms, including scams and fraudulent activities.
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