Child porn tracing tech needed


  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 04 Aug 2020

"Is the government ready to invest in such technologies?" - Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin

THE lack of funding is the reason why there is an absence of the technology to trace child pornography in Malaysian airports, according to Deputy Multimedia and Communications Minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin.

“It requires allocation and budget from the Finance Ministry, ” said Zahidi in response to Kasthuri Patto (PH-Batu Kawan) in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

Kasturi had asked whether the government would emulate other countries such as Australia, in adopting technology to arrest individuals possessing child pornography at airports.

She said convicted paedophile Richard Huckle was arrested at London Gatwick Airport in 2014 after his electronic devices were found to be possessing a large amount of child pornography.

“So, how serious is the government on this issue and is the government ready to invest in such technologies, as well as providing training to civil servants to track down paedophiles?” she asked.

Zahidi responded that Malaysia did not have the budget to do this yet.

He said only if they could use the extra funds under the ministry’s Universal Service Provision (USP) programme, which is aimed at improving communication access to areas underserved by main telecommunication providers, they could buy the technology.

“But this depends on the government and Finance Ministry, ” he said.

Kasthuri, who spoke at a press conference later, said she had raised the same issue with Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed, who was then the deputy home minister during the former Barisan Nasional’s administration and he too said the same thing.

“There is no allocation and therefore the country could not follow what the Australian government is doing.

“This is the government’s weakness and there’s no political will to do this, ” she said.

She also said Malaysia was among the popular destinations in the region for child trafficking and paedophilia.

“I hope the deputy minister will bring this up in the Cabinet. I also hope the Finance Minister will be more sensitive to our demands. This is an investment to protect our children, ” she added.

In recent years, various individuals, including Malaysians, have been arrested in countries such as Australia or the United States after child exploitation material was found on their phones at airports.

The MCMC has also blocked more than 2,400 porn sites since 2018.

“The MCMC will continue taking action based on complaints it received as well as its ongoing surveillance, ” said Zahidi, adding that MCMC had conducted 125 investigations on pornographic content since 2018 and brought five cases to court.

He was responding to Nik Mohamad Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz (PAS-Bachok), who had asked the ministry to state its efforts in curbing websites that promote pornography and lesbian, gay bisexual, transexual (LGBT) culture.

Nik Mohamad subsequently asked a supplementary question, whether action would be taken against those who belittle the government’s efforts in rehabilitating those who fall under the LGBT category.

Zahidi said MCMC could only take action against those for offences that came under the MCMC Act, such as pornographic activities.

“For offences such as man dressing up as women, that falls under the purview of the respective state religious authorities, ” he said.

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