Malaysia extends ban to political CDs

First, it was pirated and pornographic CDs. Now, the government will take action against vendors selling CDs with speeches by opposition politicians.

CNET News staff
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--First, it was pirated and pornographic CDs. Now, the government will take harsh action against CDs with political content and speeches by opposition politicians.

After a much-publicized announcement last week against street peddlers who deal in illegal copies of CDs with movies, music and pornography, the Home Affairs Ministry has warned that the government will initiate legal action against those producing and selling "political" CDs and cassette tapes.

Deputy Home Affairs Minister Chor Chee Heung said authorities recently confiscated hundreds of such video CDs in the city, many containing speeches made by opposition leaders.

He claimed that the speeches are inflammatory and a danger to society.

"This is a threat to our multiracial community. If we allow this to go on, I believe there will be chaos in our country," he was quoted as saying in the daily newspaper The Star.

But the ban on the sale of CDs, whether of an entertainment or political nature, will be hard to enforce, especially as the trade in these items simply goes underground.

As it is, CD sales have not abated, with street peddlers still plying their trade in many popular areas in the city, sometimes even in the presence of police officers.

CD traders recently expressed that they would just have to find another way to sell their wares to the public. Some traders are even planning to deliver CDs to customers' homes to avoid detection by the authorities.

CNET Malaysia's Sreejit Pillai reported from Malaysia.