Malaysia’s Own Social Networking Site

This article is in response to Social and Cultural Affairs Advisor, Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim’s suggestion to the Government for Malaysia to have it’s own social networking site similar to Facebook. In light of all the fake FB accounts posting abhorrent things, the suggestion isn’t at all baseless

This year itself, there are fake facebook accounts using the names of royalties. Then there are also the cases of Facebook users  “Chandra Lawan Tetap Lawan” who insulted the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and “Man Namblast” who referred to Hindus as “syaitan” (demons)

It is a fait accompli that creating a fake facebook account is pretty simple as the only pre-requisite is an email (which can also be faked). Hence, this leaves the authorities at a disadvantage when trying to deal with repugnant postings by fake accounts

With our very own ‘Facebook-like’ social network, the Government can make Malaysians register for an account using their identity card number. This will put the authorities in the driver’s seat as it would be easy to identify the perpetrator(s) & appropriate action can be taken swiftly

An alternative option would be for Malaysians to register using their phone number(s). Although there is the possibility that people may create fake accounts because they have multiple phone numbers, this can be countered by strictly enforcing the rule that each phone number must be registered to a passport/IC number

Malay Mail Online columnist Khairie Hisyam Aliman in his article listed down a few advantages of having our own version of Facebook. Those worth mentioning are ‘job creation’, and ‘economy stimulation.’

Syed Hassan (secretary general of Perkasa) gave his two cents’ worth that having our very own Facebook would be able to stop all insults against any religion and race, prevent insults against the royalty and the nation, besides preventing local women from falling victim to online fraud.

However, all is not a bed of roses as the suggestion by Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim and the backing by Perkasa failed to address the issue of international connectivity. Currently with Facebook, people are able to keep in contact with their relatives no matter where they are (except China and whatnot). However, our own Facebook substitute would most likely only be on a national scale (at best)

It is undeniable that there are other alternatives to keep in contact with one’s relatives (e.g. Skype, Whatsapp). However, none of them provide the diverse range of functions that Facebook does. Amongst others, Facebook allows you to chat with your friends, as well as see and comment on their posts & pictures

Malaysians conducting businesses with their international counterparts through Facebook would also be affected by this change. All the effort and money (through paid advertising, etc) spent into developing their Facebook page goes down the drain. At the time of writing this article, there isn’t any alternative social network with a reach as great as Facebook

While the concept is good, it is not without its flaws. If indeed one day Malaysians want to have their own social networking site, the chinks in the armor have to be thoroughly addressed

*This article also appeared in The Malay Mail Online , The Malaysian Insider, and The Malay Mail

Practice What You Preach

It was reported on the 7th of June 2014 that our Prime Minister (PM), Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said ‘Putrajaya remains committed to carrying out its duty as a trustworthy and accountable government’

According to Pendidikan Moral, ‘amanah’ (trustworthiness) is defined as a “sikap bertanggungjawab yang boleh menimbulkan kepercayaan dan keyakinan orang lain.” (translated: responsible attitude that invokes the trust and confidence of others)

Even at a tender age, Malaysians are taught about trustworthiness. ‘Amanah’ is presented to schoolchildren as an important moral virtue that a person should have

It is then a good thing that our PM is championing accountability and trustworthiness. Accountability and trustworthiness are expected of the Government as they handle public funds!

However, past reports from the Auditor General have highlighted countless disingenuous activities. The 2012 report contained surprisingly unnecessary overspending. Items were overpayed by thousands of times beyond its actual cost

The Information, Communications and Culture Ministry then issued a statement to justify its expenditure in hopes of escaping the imbroglio. No matter what the explanation, overspending by thousands of times is untenable!

A budget is there for a reason. To limit the amount that can be spent by a particular ministry/department. An important questions is, who benefited from the transaction? And why weren’t the people responsible reprimanded?

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the 2013 Auditor General’s report pointed out more malfeasances. The report showed that Malaysia was ‘bleeding itself to death’

Amongst others, the A-G’s report found that the RM343.55 million Paya
Peda Dam development project in Terengganu was 18.49% behind
schedule, the contractor had failed to adhere to contract clauses, inexperienced sub-contractors had been appointed and a sum of RM0.53 million had been paid out inappropriately

Furthermore, funds intended for a malnourished children’s rehabilitation programme being spent on the purchase of assets and equipment, the mismanagement of hospital in-house meals and the ineffective management of petroleum revenues

Clearly there is a lack of accountability and trustworthiness. The Public Accounts Committee may be hauling up ministries involved to explain themselves but no strict action seems to be taken on those who made the questionable decisions

If Putrajaya is truly serious about ‘carrying out its duty as a trustworthy and accountable government,’ come down hard on those wasting public funds! Hard earned taxpayers’ money are being flushed down the toilet or entering the pockets of unscrupulous individuals

With substantial amounts of money being mismanaged, it is no surprise that the general public is against the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Undeniably, GST is a good way to create revenue for the Government

However, if current funds are not handled properly, what’s to stop the revenue gained from GST from being misused? Or worst still, benefiting cronies

Such unethical practices are proof of a lack of a responsible attitude that invokes the trust and confidence of others. Putrajaya must walk the talk. Practice what you preach!

*Check it out at The Malay Mail Online and at Malaysiakini