KUALA LUMPUR 14 Feb – “Differences in opinions and political beliefs should be celebrated, but without utmost freedom,” said Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi here today.
He said, people are allowed to have differences in opinions, but as Malaysians, we should have our own “mould.”
“We should not twist and turn the meaning of freedom according to the western ideologies when giving opinions on certain issues,” Zahid said at the Hi-Tea Charity of Veteran Club Utusan Melayu (KVUM) and Tribute to Allahyarham ABI at Utusan Melayu Hall this afternoon.
Also present were Managing Director Utusan Melayu Group, Datuk Noordin Abbas, Group Chief Editor, Datuk Aziz Ishak, KVUM President, Datuk Raja Ahmad Niza Raja Ismail, and other dignitaries, Utusan Melayu journalist veterans and staff.
Zaid who is also the Minister of Home Affairs commented that today’s opinions are picked from various sources that are based on negative stories which may confuse the people and thus lose credibility.
Negative stories are perceived to be true if repeatedly reported, he added.
Zaid also reminded conventional journalists to check the facts before releasing their stories. They should not create animosity between the people and their leaders.
“I hope journalists from the conventional media do not lose their grips with this new phenomenon. Newspapers circulation today is dropping, and the electronic media are also losing viewership,” he said.
The Deputy Prime Minister also mentioned that about 20.6 million out of 31 million people in Malaysia have social media accounts, and this is a new marketplace for imparting information.
Zaid said the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Act (1998) from 2013-2015 had brought 50 cases for alleged libel and related cases and 22 blogs for various offenses to the courts. In 2016 the commission had also brought 32 cases for abusing the internet.
“Do not blame the government for not taking any action on them. If the government takes action, people will instead accuse the government of curtailing the freedom of speech,” he said. –