This bloke from the Ministry of Information (& yadda, yadda) was reported as follows by the Strait Times (which quoted an AFP news bulletin):

Kuala Lumpur – The Malaysian government has warned against excessive use of micro-blogging sites like Facebook and Twitter, arguing that they could erode the country’s culture, a report said on Sunday.

Rais Yatim, the information and communication minister, said Muslims and other religious groups must be wary of the Internet as it was introduced by the West.

‘We are not saying they cannot use Facebook or Twitter, but when using such facilities, they must upkeep the values taught by Islam, Buddhism or Christianity to maintain our culture,’ he was quoted as saying by the New Sunday Times newspaper.

Mr Rais said users must not be influenced by what they see and hear when using the Internet. ‘We must be strong in our belief and culture because the identity and image of our country depends on us,’ he said.

The government decided last August not to implement a controversial plan to create an Internet filter blocking ‘undesirable’ websites after coming under fire from rights groups.

Malaysia’s lively blogosphere has been a thorn in the side of the Barisan Nasional government, which was been in power for more than half a century but was dealt its worst ever results in the 2008 elections.  (AFP)

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I reckon he’s still trying his level best to be retained in the next cabinet reshuffle by the UMNO-dominated BN administration by regurgitating the ‘fear-factor’ of the Internet and the World Wide Web.

Are young minds so susceptible to the vast amount of information available on the Net and its derivative sites like Facebook, etc that the minister must step in as a ‘self-appointed’ guardian of the faithful lest netizens would lose their ‘culture’ and turn into godless, soulless robotic oafs?

Evidently, the MOI minister was not present (perhaps, not even aware of the event) when the Malaysian younger generation decided and managed to organise a forum recently with regard to the highly ‘sensitive’ issue on ‘Allah’ without anyone losing their sense of decorum nor their heads. Malaysians have already evolved into a matured, Net-informed society unique to this nation, except for the hand-full of firebomb, paint and/or stone casting few who are still at large.

As the minister in charge of information and communication, arguably two of the various prerequisites necessary for nation-building, his remarks sounded condescending at best. At worst, the minister can be misconstrued as mocking God when ‘IQRA‘ was the first word to be recited by Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.

And if Facebook is as dangerous as the minister would like us to believe, please tell us why is UMNO going gung-ho with this particular FB group with a litany of UMNO-ish names populating its administration, including a deputy minister.

(Click on screenshots to read an expose)

The Internet, an invention from the West, is as ubiquitous as the handphone, the motor vehicle and the indoor bathroom which the minister may take for granted as everyday utilities. A camel-riding MOI minister turning up at an international convention would raise eyebrows. No?

Thus, the only thing that makes any sense to me about this news report is a minister raising crud to save his butt.