Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



Despite an extensive history of censorship and political speech suppression, Malaysia's Vision 2020 goal of becoming a fully developed nation requires the nation to facilitate an open exchange of ideas and information. The government seeks to create a center for broadcasting, filmmaking, and the development of multimedia products. While Malaysia has begun to abandon some of its censorship practices, the remaining restrictions on its citizens' speech and press freedoms threaten to hamstring the country's efforts to become a fully developed nation by 2020.

This Note discusses Malaysia's beginning as a British colony, identifying the religious, racial, and class distinctions now used to justify the nation's censorship policies and laws. This Note then examines the current social and economic pressures forcing Malaysia to re-examine its economic focus and its system of censorship. The Note will critically examine Malaysia's plans to create the Multimedia Super Corridor and to become a center for broadcasting and filmmaking, citing the legal and policy changes adopted to facilitate these projects. Finally, after concluding that Malaysia's proposed modifications of its censorship policy will not allow the nation to completely achieve its Vision 2020, this Note suggests additional legal and policy alternatives. These proposals would enable Malaysia to more easily achieve its goal of developing the entertainment and information industries as a means of becoming a fully developed nation.-