KUALA KUBU BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak has instructed the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to streamline the laws and step up enforcement to check dissemination of slander on social media.
He said if such slanders were allowed to fester, it would alter the mindset of the people and create a state of "trial by social media".
"When faced with trial by social media, we, as members of the administration, will be declared guilty before trial.
"But when it comes to the opposition, it is all considered defamation, not considered as the truth. Is this not weird?" the Umno president asked when opening the Hulu Selangor Umno division meeting on Sunday.
Najib said the Government could not obstruct the progress of technology but it also could not give absolute freedom to the extent that untruths were turned into truths.
He said Umno should also become an active social media practitioner and have a specific programme to change the perception of the people.
"Today, perception seems to overwhelm reality. We need to understand the situation when faced with attacks in cyberspace to better position our party," he said.
He said the opposition parties were not free of problems but could survive and win elections because they looked after each other.
He said Umno should learn from the mistakes made in the 13th general election and ensure its programmes and strategies can woo support from those not outside the party or Barisan Nasional.
He also warned Umno against syok sendiri (self indulgent) attitude because this would only cause the party to lose and suffer.
"If we do things that are ineffective, the outcome will be like the last GE. We do programmes thinking that votes will increase but the outcome showed otherwise.
"Even I was duped. There were places and programmes I attended where the turnout was 30,000 people. We thought those who came would vote for us but in the end they didn't," he said.
Najib said for Umno to be strong, the party should be free of internal problems and party members should support the leadership, particularly when facing crisis.
Najib said that was why, all issues and problems as well as criticisms against leadership should only be raised among members and in the confines of Umno.
"It is all right to question and criticise but in public, we must give an image that we are united."
Earlier at his Hari Raya open house for his constituents in Pekan, Najib said the leadership should aspire to provide the best service for the people and the nation and to do that, leaders should ask themselves what the people wanted.
"If the people want affordable houses, then we must do our best to provide housing. If the people want job opportunities for their children, then we must try to find them jobs.
"If the people are concerned about the cost of living, then we must work towards reducing their burden. Should the people want a country that is peaceful and safe, then we must strive to guarantee that," said Najib, adding that the leadership must also not allow religious differences to split the unity among the races of Malaysia.