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Rais: We did not jam networks during Bersih

 | June 14, 2012

Network congestion and not mobile jammers caused phone networks to go down during the Bersih 3.0 rally, says information minister.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s mobile phone networks are unable to handle thousands of people using their devices in one area, the government said today.

Minister for Information, Communications and Culture said that the thousands of people using their mobile phones during the April 28 Bersih 3.0 rally caused networks to fumble.

He also denied that the government had intentionally blocked mobile networks that day.

“There were more than 20,000 people gathering in a small area according to Bernama. A cellular telecommunications system generally does not have the capacity to accomodate phone conversations and data transfers as was needed during the Bersih rally,” he said.

Rais was replying to a query by Batu Gajah MP (DAP) Fong Po Kuan, who asked why mobile networks experienced difficulties during the rally’s events.

She also asked if any investigations had been conducted, and if it was true that the government had intentionally cut off communications in the area.

Rais added that blocked calls would happen when too many phone calls were made at the same time. This, he said, was because transmission cells within the network were unable to bear the large number of phone calls being made.

“When these cells are full, the system will reject these (phone) calls, resulting in blocked calls with none of them able to be made.

“Therefore, it is untrue that the government has blocked communications systems (that day),” he said.

Many people, including FMT staff, were unable to make calls, send text messages or access the internet at around 3pm that day.

Some blamed this on mobile jammers, which were supposedly set up on four-wheel-drives near the Dataran Merdeka area.

Various photographs appeared over the Internet showing these alleged jammers operating during the rally.

FMT was unable to verify if these devices were indeed jammers or communications equipment of another sort.


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