Anwar Ibrahim Gets ‘Love Letter’ From Concerned Parties

The ‘love letter’ in the form of urgent Joint Letter, addressing Anwar Ibrahim, seeks Social Media Council (SMC) as inclusive self-regulatory framework for moderating the power of social media platforms!

SOCIAL MEDIA UPDATE . . . Several individuals and fifty-odd NGOs, including the newly-revived Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI) as Borneo-centric Think Tank, has dropped Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim ‘love letter’, in the form of urgent Joint Letter, on the Social Media Council (SMC).

Among other NGO are the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), AIDA (Autism Inclusiveness Direct Action Group), Aliran, All Women’s Action Society (AWAM), Amnesty International Malaysia (AIM), and Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (BoPiMaFo).

Individuals include Ahmad Murad Merican, Anthony Chong, Beatrice Leong, Beverly Joeman, and Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS.

For further inquiries, contact Lim Jih-Ming at

The details on the individuals and NGO and the urgent Joint Letter ala ‘love letter’ can be found here.

Anwar Ibrahim

The urgent Joint Letter ala ‘love letter’ demands, without delay, the establishment of the Social Media Council (SMC), as multi-stakeholder mechanism for inclusive self-regulatory framework, for exercising oversight on content moderation on social media.

“The self-regulatory framework and mechanism are pivotal for combating shortcomings in content moderation practices,” reads the urgent Joint Letter. “It ensures that national contexts are taken into account while keeping the right for freedom of expression in line with central democratic principles.”

The SMC, briefly, would consist of social media platforms, civil society, experts, and industry stakeholders, among others.

SMC Key Points

Five key points, states the urgent Joint Letter, help underwrite the SMC as accountability model:

(i) provide guidance on content moderation;

(ii) establish Forum for reviewing individual content moderation decisions by social media platforms;

(iii) provide oversight on how the community standards and guidelines of the respective platforms are interpreted and guided including by international standards on freedom of expression and fundamental human rights;

(iv) act as Forum where stakeholders can discuss recommendations; and

(v) use voluntary-compliance approach for exercising oversight on content moderation. In short, social media platforms and stakeholders must accept Model that creates obligation for voluntarily implementing the SMC’s decisions and recommendations.

The urgent Joint Letter expresses confidence that balanced approach on self-regulation, with independent oversight and clear ‘legal’ frameworks, was more effective on ensuring accountability on social media platforms while protecting democratic values.

“The inclusive multi-stakeholder initiative will also ensure more credibility,” said the urgent Joint Letter. “It would remove the role of the government, in being the sole arbiter, on standards and content moderation.”

Elsewhere, there’s need for investment in media and digital literacy programmes and more comprehensive media and digital literacy programmes, especially at educational institutions.

“Educate the students and public on online harm and be better equipped to identify and respond to these harms, including in seeking effective remedies,” said the individuals and NGO.


They make several other recommendations:

(a) Institutionalise consultative processes with civil society experts and the public, especially on regulatory and legislative issues. (This ensures that any new legislation or regulations adheres on international human rights standards and do not undermine freedom of expression and civil liberties);

(b) Rechannel priorities, focus on institutional reforms, and enable secure and transparent space for people for engaging in open and constructive discussions while upholding democratic values;

(c) Focus on initiating comprehensive legislative reform based on Malaysia’s international human rights obligations, and amend or repeal laws which have been weaponised for censoring lawful content, expression, and speech.

Relevant Laws

The link lists the relevant laws.

The individuals and NGO urge moratorium on the use of these laws while undergoing reform initiatives.

The urgent Joint Letter cautions that policymakers ensure that any measures adopted for combatting online harm, and drawing accountability for social media, do not unduly impair freedom of expression and speech.

“Any restrictions on freedom of expression and speech must meet international human rights laws and standards of legitimacy, necessity, and proportionality,” reads the urgent Joint Letter. “Political expediency remains No No. The public interest must be at the centre of all laws, policies and practices.”

The individuals and NGO hope that the Anwar Ibrahim Malaysia Madani administration, in the form of unity government decreed by Agong, and the Communications Ministry, respond constructively.

“We must abandon the spectres of Malaysia’s undemocratic past, and uphold the promises made during GE15 and the principles espoused for over 20 years, ” said the urgent Joint Letter. “Only by preserving and bolstering the people’s right for freedom of expression can we truly unite as democratic Malaysia.”

The urgent Joint Letter also lists alleged transgressions by various government agencies for silencing the people of Malaysia in various ways. — NMH

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Joe Fernandez
Longtime Borneo watcher Joe Fernandez has been writing for many years on both sides of the Southeast Asia Sea. He should not be mistaken for a namesake formerly with the Daily Express in Kota Kinabalu. JF keeps a Blog under FernzTheGreat on the nature of human relationships.

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