The Home Ministry on Thursday served a reminder on all media practitioners in the country to follow the guidelines stipulated by the government.

Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said the reminder was issued shortly after the Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) withdrew the ban on several websites including Malaysia Today.

“Most importantly, while we want freedom and openness, we must also bear the responsibility as Malaysians to ensure peace and public order and prevent people from inciting and humiliating others and breaking the law.

“So, it is a warning or a reminder and after it has been served, I hope it will raise the awareness because the power of the media be it blogs, in prints or electronic to influence the society in general is very deep and significant.”

He told reporters this after attending a breaking of fast held by Percetakan Nasional Malaysia Berhad (PNMB) here Thursday night.

Syed Hamid said the move to restrict access to several websites was not intended as a penalty but a just careful measure because of a concern that they could bring about tension and undermine public order.

He said the ministry had also served show-cause letters to several media firms bent on creating tension among the people.

“Any media which we see have breached the conditions and guidelines, will be told to show cause and the reply must be made within a week. They should not consider the show-cause letter as our attempt to impose a restriction.

“We owe the responsibility to the society in general to ensure conflicts do not occur and anger is not prompted as a result of what we write about race, religion or even culture,” he said.

Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor said earlier that the Cabinet agreed to lift the ban of several websites to encourage people to continue using the internet as a channel for information dissemination.

According the MCMC’s record, access to 126 websites have been blocked since January for flouting various rules including blasphemy and cheating the public.

Meanwhile on an attempt by Parti Keadilan Rakyat advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to persuade Barisan Nasional (BN) members of Parliament (MPs) to jump ship, Syed Hamid Albar said Anwar was wasting his time.

He said Anwar should focus on the problems faced by his constituents rather than planning to go to Taiwan, where 49 BN MPs were having a study trip, to realise his personal agenda.

“He can go anywhere he wants but Taiwan is a waste of time. In this respect, if he is going to meet our people it means he does not think he can win election if there is an election.

“The next election is in 2012. There is no need for him to pinch BN members who have stated that they remain loyal to the BN. Why should he try to gain power by resorting to dubious methods?” he said.

Anwar who is opposition leader, said Wednesday that he would fly to Taiwan if necessary to meet the 49 BN MPs for a talk on his scheme to oust the BN government on Sept 16.

— BERNAMA