Newly minted Communications and Multimedia Minister Annuar Musa has pledged to ensure the government will practice the concept of responsible media freedom.
To better understand his new role, Annuar said he held stakeholder meetings with 11 agencies and departments under his ministry during the first two weeks of his new job.
"It is important for the ministry to reinvent, rejuvenate, and be more creative to continue being a credible channel that can function effectively.
"I hope all ministry staff are ready to work and be the voice of a government that is responsive, in line with the people's aspiration to build our Keluarga Malaysia," said Annuar.
Annuar, the former federal territories minister, took over the Communications and Multimedia Ministry (KKMM) from Saifuddin Abdullah under the new administration of Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
In his new role, Annuar is in charge of overseeing dissemination of information through national broadcaster RTM, national news agency Bernama, and the Information Department.
This is on top of other functions ranging from digital security to film and digital economy development.
"I will transform KKMM into a ministry that not only delivers information to the people but also one that is responsive and proactive to the people's need.
"KKMM will not only be the government's voice but also the people's voice... that connects Putrajaya to every single Malaysian in all corners of the country, even in the remotest village," he said.
The turn to remote working and learning since start of the Covid-19 pandemic last year had exposed a digital divide between urban and rural areas, particularly in terms of internet access.
Critics also noted an increased crackdown on freedom of expression including under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, censorship laws, Sedition Act 1948, and others.
When contacted, Center for Independent Journalism (CIJ) executive director Wathshlah G Naidu said the group is looking forward to engaging with Annuar on potential media reforms and the establishment of a media council.
"CIJ and it’s partners will be issuing a letter requesting for a meeting and hope that it could be arranged without any delays to take forward the discussions in a constructive way.
"We hope that the Minister will focus on reviewing laws that restrict media freedom, including the Section 233 of the CMA, Sedition Act, Official Secrets Act 1972 and the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984," she told Malaysiakini.