M'sian PM calls for Asean action against Net abuse

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia on Friday urged Asean countries to pool their resources to fight Internet abuse.

KUALA LUMPUR--Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Friday urged Asean countries to pool their resources to fight Internet abuse.

“The misuse of the Internet for propagating and disseminating information detrimental to both national and societal interests is on the rise,” he said in his speech at the 1st Asean Telecommunications Ministers Meeting here.

His speech was delivered by Energy, Communications and Multimedia Minister Leo Moggie. Mahathir said Asean members should set up a regional security center to effectively fight cybercrime and misinformation on the Internet.

“This is especially critical in ensuring adequate checks and balances on issues concerning our national security and identity,” he said.

''The center can play an important role in assessing the e-security readiness of ASEAN member countries and facilitate training and exchange programs for network security enforcement,'' Mahathir said.

He said Asean has no choice but to work together to check Internet crimes due to the Internet's global nature.

''For instance, those responsible for disseminating offensive information on the Net cannot be prosecuted in a particular country if the website is hosted outside its border,'' Mahathir added.

He also expressed worries about the spread of "hate information" and pornography on the Internet.

Asean is made up of Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia.

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