Commission denies blocking access to BBC’s ‘kangkung’ article

I was quoted by Digital News Asia in the article “Commission denies blocking access to BBC’s ‘kangkung’ article


Commission denies blocking access to BBC’s ‘kangkung’ article

JANUARY 16, 2014

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has denied it had blocked access to a BBC report on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s “kangkung” remark.

MCMC strategic communications chief Sheikh Raffie Abdul Rahman told The Malaysian Insider that the commission did not block the site.

Internet users in Malaysia had reported difficulty in accessing the BBC post beginning last night, with timeouts occurring after a long wait for the page to load.

Digital News Asia reported that the rest of the BBC website remained accessible. However, as of noon today, the block appears to have been lifted.

The BBC article, entitled “#BBCtrending: Be careful what you say about spinach”, chronicles the recent uproar from the Malaysian public about comments made by Najib.

In attempting to use an analogy to explain the government’s action, or lack thereof, in controlling the price of goods, Najib used kangkung or water spinach as an example.

Since then, Najib has been lampooned and ridiculed by Malaysians up and down the length of Malaysia.

Najib had lamented the fact that Putrajaya was never credited for keeping prices stable but instead, was widely criticised when prices of goods and services went up.

There were also complaints from netizens that YouTube videos mocking and ridiculing Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor had also been blocked.

Digital News Asia reported that any attempts to filter the BBC report would be a violation of the Multimedia Super Corridor Malaysia Bill of Guarantees.

The bill specifically states that Putrajaya would ensure no Internet censorship.

Digital News Asia columnist and lawyer Foong Cheng Leong said there was no legal ground for the BBC report to be blocked. – January 16, 2014.

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