KUALA LUMPUR — The government never had any intention to close Facebook although there had been numerous reports on misuse of the social website in this country, said Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek.

He said the government had only stated previously that it was prepared to study whether it was apt to close Facebook and that the government would conduct a study to get feedback from the public on this matter.

“I have never said about wanting to close Facebook and the government itself has no intention to do so as it is rather impossible with some 15 million Facebook account users in Malaysia.

“A lot of people are comfortable using Facebook to do business online, to interact with their family members and for various other purposes. It’s different if we (Malaysia) have been using a model like China had from the beginning, thus disallowing its people to use Facebook, ” the minister said.

Ahmad Shabery said this after launching the low-cost courier service, Redbox AirAsia, in Kuala Lumpur, Thursday. Also present were AirAsia Group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and AirAsia Bhd chief executive officer Aireen Omar.

The minister said it was time for the government to educate the public to use the Internet wisely and courteously starting from the primary school level to prevent misuse of the facility.

“We don’t have public education on Internet usage yet. We have received an advanced facility but many people don’t know how to use it correctly, so there have been abuses,” he said.

On the boycott of products linked to Israel in this country, Ahmad Shabery said it depended on the individual’s right to decide on this.

He said the boycott might have an effect on the country’s economy, so the people needed to act rationally. — BERNAMA