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Wednesday August 2, 2006

PM: Those who spread untruths on the Net will be detained


ianm@thestar.com.my 

KUALA TERENGGANU: The Prime Minister has issued a warning – those who spread untruths and slander on the Internet will face the law. 

If information in blogs, websites and online portals were incorrect, bordered on slander, caused disturbance or compelled the public to lose faith in the nation’s economic policies, their authors would be detained for investigation, said Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. 

“We cannot allow such matters to flow through uncontrolled,” he told newsmen after attending a briefing on the proposed Islamic Civilisation Park in Pulau Wan Man here.  

GOOD POTENTIAL : Abdullah measuring the size of a nipah fruit after opening a nipah sap collection and processing centre in Kelulut, Marang, Tuesday. --Bernamapic
“They say all kinds of things, make all kinds of dubious claims. We cannot allow them to abuse the freedom earned under the media. If left alone, they can say or pass on all kinds of things.”  

Abdullah also said that those who sent out such information via short message system (SMS) would also be held accountable. 

“If they abuse the freedom – more than the present freedom given without any restriction – we cannot allow it,” he declared.  

“Where in the world is there such a freedom, where one can freely spread incorrect information and slander without having to own up to it?”  

Asked if he was calling for a control mechanism, Abdullah said he would leave it to the police to investigate first. 

It was reported recently that the Internal Security Ministry was investigating several online sites following a string of misreporting that caused tension and confusion among Internet users. 

Earlier, the Prime Minister was briefed on the proposed park’s facilities. It will have 21 replicas of historical monuments that feature Islamic architecture, including the National Mosque (Malaysia), the Grand Mosque (Mecca), the Dome of Rock (Jerusalem) and the Taj Mahal (India). 

The centrepiece of the RM250mil park, which will be completed in June next year, will be a crystal mosque which can accommodate 800 people. 

Abdullah also opened a nipah (mangrove palm) sap collection and processing centre in Kelulut, Marang, here. 

He said the palm had long existed in the country but only its sap had been tapped so far to produce a drink while its parts had not been commercially exploited. 

“The drink has now been bottled and marketed to as far as West Asia,” he said. 

Abdullah said nipah, abundant along rivers in Terengganu, should be further exploited to produce more products such as brown sugar, vinegar and flavour for ice cream.  

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