| KUALA LUMPUR
KUALA LUMPUR Aug 6 Malaysia is considering the
establishment of an Internet filter, similar to China's
abandoned "Green Dam" project, a source familiar with the
process told Reuters on Thursday.
News of the proposal emerged within days of police
arresting nearly 600 opposition supporters at a weekend rally
denouncing a government that has ruled this Southeast Asian
country for 51 years.
A vibrant Internet culture has contributed to political
challenges facing the government, which tightly controls
mainstream media and has used sedition laws and imprisonment
without trial to prosecute a blogger.
"They (the government) are looking to tweak the technical
and legal details of implementing this Internet filter, setting
the stage for its implementation late this year or next year,"
said the source, who declined to be identified.
No one from the government was available for comment.
"Submissions are to be handed in by July or August. About
four groups have tendered for this project," the source said.
China last month delayed the introduction of its proposed
Green Dam internet filter which authorities said sought to
stamp out pornography. Opponents of censorship, industry groups
and the United States said the project was intrusive and
Malaysia plans to double home Internet penetration to 50
percent by the end of next year with a new broadband project.
New Information, Communication and Culture Minister Rais
Yatim, whose ministry issued the tender, also plans to secure
control over the content and monitoring division of Malaysia's
Internet regulator, a second source said.
"The minister wants to focus more on enforcement in the
coming year," the source said.
Malaysia, with a population of 27 million, attracted
foreign technology companies such as Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O)
and Cisco Systems (CSCO.O) to invest and guaranteed that the
government would not impose controls on the Internet.
Rais said last month that wider broadband access required
"With the good comes the bad through the broadband over the
Internet," he said. "We will introduce certain measures to
overcome the bad."
(Additional reporting by Royce Cheah, editing by Ron Popeski)