Crackdown on MCMC?

New minister expected to announce the top officials’ resignations tomorrow

By P PREM KUMAR / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE federal government is expected to shake up the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) with top officials being asked to vacate their positions with immediate effect.

MCMC chairman Tan Sri Dr Halim Shafie and a few other high-ranking officers are expected to relinquish their positions, people familiar with the development told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

“The top officials have been asked to take responsibility over the various data breaches cases in the country since last year, besides inefficiency in handling the matter.

“Heads are expected to roll. The new minister is certainly not happy with MCMC,” said the source, who did not want to be named.

Sources also added that Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo is expected to hold a media conference tomorrow to announce the resignations.

Apart from Halim, there are seven members sitting on MCMC’s board — two representing the government while the remaining five representing the non-governmental organisations.

MCMC chief officer for network security, new media monitoring, compliance and advocacy Dr Fadhlullah Suhaimi is also listed on the regulator’s website as one of the commission members representing the government. He was formerly a director in the Performance Management and Delivery Unit under the Prime Minister’s Office and served as the chief communications officer of the strategic communications committee reporting to the Cabinet since 2014 — both under the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government.

MCMC COO Datuk Dr Mazlan Ismail contested in the 13th General Election under the BN-Umno ticket in the Permatang Pauh parliamentary constituency, after retiring as a VP at Telekom Malaysia Bhd. He lost to PKR de-facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim with a majority of 11,721 votes.

Soon after, Mazlan was appointed by the Communications and Multimedia Ministry as an advisor to MCMC with specialised duties, before appointed to his current post.

However, the sources couldn’t ver i fy whether Fadhlullah and Mazlan were among the names asked to resign by the government.

In a recent exclusive interview with TMR, Gobind said the MCMC has been ineffective in dealing with various data breaches and cyber attacks in the country, including the BOTS (Internet robot) attack on polling day on May 9, 2018.

He said since March this year, three separate data breaches incidents were reported, and these were not handled well by MCMC.

“You notice when these breaches occur, it was me who tweeted about it almost immediately? Do you not find it strange that the minister himself has to tweet about it when it first happened? “The question is, is this agency (MCMC) efficient in dealing with the problem? “The answer is ‘No’,” Gobind said firmly. He viewed the attacks as a serious national concern and has told the MCMC to buck up.

“People hear that there is a problem, and we read about there being an investigation, but subsequently there is no follow up. This is the problem,” he had said.

Last month alone, several data breach cases had been reported involving customer data of Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd, students data from the Ministry of Education portal and government-related portals, under MyNIC Bhd — an agency under the Communications and Multimedia Ministry.