PETALING JAYA: Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah and two DAP assemblymen today said that the government must bring reforms to curb online harassment in order to protect the public’s safety in cyberspace.
Maria, along with Bandar Utama assemblyman Jamaliah Jamaluddin and Kampung Tunku assemblyman Lim Yi Wei, said the reforms must cover pre-emptive measures to create a safer online experience, such as spreading awareness on how to use the internet responsibly and ethically.
Lim and Jamiliah recently became the targets of online sexual harassment. The duo received racist, sexist and violent threats of rape and murder on Facebook.
“Online harassment should not be seen as harmless or just ‘trolling’ acts because its ultimate aim is to bully and dehumanise someone perceived to be in a weaker position.
“It is the government’s duty and responsibility to promote model digital citizens by engaging them in online etiquette classes and media literacy courses formally from the primary school level onwards,” they said in a joint statement.
They also said the Perikatan Nasional government should put pressure on social media companies in tackling online hate speech.
“These billion-dollar companies can surely afford to hire local people to monitor and stop online hate speeches.”
Maria, Lim and Jamiliah also urged the government to table a sexual harassment bill as soon as possible. They said the bill was “already in the works” during Pakatan Harapan’s administration.
Meanwhile, district police chief Nik Ezanee Mohd Faisal said that Jamiliah had lodged a police report over the sexual harassment complaint last week and the authorities are investigating her case under Section 233 of the Communication and Multimedia Act as well as for criminal intimidation.
He said Lim had not lodged any police report yet.
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