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Chun Hau Ng

Chun Hau Ng is an Associate in Wong & Partners, Kuala Lumpur office.

Proposed licensing of social media and internet messaging services providers and a new draft bill on digital safety – these are some of the recent updates in the online content space for Malaysia. On 15 December 2023, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) reported that there was a significant increase in harmful content on social media and over-the-top platforms in 2023 as compared to in 2022. Against this backdrop, the Malaysian Government (as with its counterparts in the region) is increasingly concerned about online safety and the harms that materialize as part of the proliferation of online content.

The General Code of Practice of Personal Data Protection introduces new legal requirements to be complied with by data users caught within its ambit. It also seeks to provide best practice recommendations with respect to the implementation of principles under the Personal Data Protection Act 2010 and its subsidiary legislation.
Some of the new legal requirements include providing additional mandatory information in a personal data protection notice, complying with any data subjects’ written request not to process their personal data for direct marketing within reasonable time, maintaining a personal data system, and establishing a PDPA compliance framework.

The interim chairman of Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission announced that MCMC is undertaking a review of the current online content regulation and framework. This was shared following recent publication of online content deemed to be harmful to national security and harmony. He also noted that countries in the region such as Indonesia, Singapore and Australia have introduced direct regulatory oversight on social media service providers, holding them to greater accountability and responsibility when managing harmful content.

Earlier this year, the Malaysian Personal Data Protection Department released several documents to aid data users in their compliance with the Malaysian Personal Data Protection Act 2010 – these include a guide on privacy notices, new codes of practice applicable to the private healthcare industry and the water utilities industry, as well as circulars reminding prescribed classes of data users of their registration obligations.

Subsequent to our client alert issued in November 2021 in relation to cloud service regulation in Malaysia, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission has since shed light on the scope of the licensing regime and the availability of a grace period until 31 March 2022 to those affected to fully comply with the new licensing requirement.

The Communications and Multimedia Content Forum of Malaysia has issued a public consultation paper titled “Revamp of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Content Code”, proposing a number of changes to the prohibitions, restrictions and requirements on electronic content, particularly in relation to advertising, as well as broader implications for online service providers and online marketplace operators. The closing date for submission of feedback to the Content Forum is 10 December 2021.