Malaysia's elder statesman, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, used a speech at a social media conference to advocate outright censorship of the Internet, a call that may worry investors as the country's economy falters.
"Eventually, you're going to scare away a lot of investors. People are going to wonder what this country is going to decline into," said Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies and former political secretary to Malaysia's Prime Minister's Office from 2009-2011.
In a sharp reversal from his tenure as prime minister, when he pledged no censorship to encourage investment in the tech sector, Mahathir used his speech, "Social Media and the Future," at the Malaysia Social Media Week conference on Thursday, to declare "there should be censorship" to block out "filth," particularly pornography.
Mahathir's declaration comes as the country is stepping up its use of the Sedition Act, which was strengthened earlier this month to give the government the power to censor online media and impose harsher jail terms.