I’ve been skimming through the old newspaper at home for some clipping ( LOL… nothing serious, I usually clip out comics that I like.) and apparently I have missed an issue that I feel quite strongly about. CYBER CAFE. And since the news is not yet rotten, I might as well give my two pence on it. The article below was taken from The Star Malaysia, 8th July 2008. And PLEASE NOTE that this particular matter was brought up a day after Pak Lah condemn bloggers for ’slandering’ and ‘defaming’ around in their blogs.
TIGHTER RULES FOR CYBER CAFES- New guidelines to be enforced soon.
KUALA LUMPUR: All cyber cafes will have to cllose by midnight daily and operate only from the ground floor of buildings once the guidelines to control them are enforced.
Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin said that under the new guidelines, cyber cafe operators were also banned from using tainted glass.
“Operators must ensure their shops can be seen from the outside,” he said.
The new rule also require those below 12 years old to be accompanied by their parents or guardians to cyber cafes and they are only allowed to stay until 10pm,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby yesterday.
The guidelines have been drawn up and ready to be enforced at anytime.
However Hamzah did not say when the ministry was going to start enforcing them except to say it would be “as soon as possible”.
Hamzah said cyber cafes were also banned from other co-business activities, including having games, gambling, pornography, music and publications with negative elements.
“Cigarettes and alcohol cannot be sold or consumed at these premises,” he said.
Hamzah said operators were required to keep a register to record the entry and departure time of their patrons.
“This is to ensure that all patrons are checked by operators at all times. The owners of all business must also send names of students who come to their premises to their schools,”
Hamzah said some students had been found to play truant by changing their uniforms and visiting cyber cafes during school hours.
“We will also issue warning to operators who allow students into their centres as this( truancy) has been getting out of hand,” he said.
Cyber cafes which do not comply with the guidelines would be blacklisted.
“The names of offenders will be sent to all local authorities and they will not be allowed to open such business again in any part of the country,” he said.
While I applaud the authorities effort to make cyber cafes less accesible for minors and requires them to be accompanied by parents or guardian, I seriously doubt how many parents or guardian are willing to take their child to a cyber cafe and sit there with them, especially when the image of cyber cafe in Malaysia is as smelly as a skunk’s fart. By asking parents or guardians, who are probably too busy to accompany their children to a cyber cafe is probably asking for the sun, the stars or the moon.
I haven’t seen any parent who are willing enough to send their kids to cyber cafe, what more sit for a few hours with them in the cyber cafe, waiting for their kids to do their things. Ask them to send their kids to tuition or music class, yes, that they will do, but not cyber cafes. The authorities might as well ban cyber cafes from allowing kids below 12 from entering their premises if parental guide is made compulsory. Heck, not all parents are so free as to sit with their kids in a cyber cafe.
Parents are usually adults, and most are working too. How the hell are they supposed to accompany their kids to a cyber cafe? And what kind of ‘guardian’ that they are referring to? If the mummy and daddy are working, are they supposed to hire a maid or something to accompany their child to a cyber cafe if their child wanted to go to a cyber cafe? Abit ridiculous and non-practical, don’t you think? Some of these kids goes to cyber cafe to do their Computer Class homework, not for the sole purpose of fun. Some come from a family that could not afford a desktop, and cyber cafe would have to make do. Wouldn’t it be more practical if they make the schools’ computer labs more accessible for children to use if they do not wish to encourage underage children to frequent cyber cafes? What good is a computer lab if they are only open to the kids to use during a pathetic 1 hour class? 1 hour is not even enough to do their IT class assignments. Most of the school computer labs are left unoccupied after school hours. Why not make it accessible for students to use? That would somewhat lessen some of the kids’ the frequency to cyber cafes.
I strongly do not agree that a cyber cafe should be closed by midnight. Why you ask me? This is why: At night of after midnight to 3-4am in the morning is usually a cyber cafe’s peak business hours, where there are a lot of college students or teenagers frequent the premises to do their stuff. Usually they are there for games, like WoW, Counter Strike and many more while a minority of them are poor souls who are there to do their university or college assignments as they can’t afford a PC or a Laptop with an Internet line for research . By asking them to close by midnight, that would mean taking away most of their clients as well as their profit away from them. ALOT of profit. If these cyber cafes businesses can’t generate more revenues, won’t that mean there will be less income tax can be collected from them? We’re not talking about one or two cyber cafes, we’re talking about the whole Malaysia’s cyber cafes businesses. Imagine how much will be gone once the guideline is implemented. Not only the businesses will loose money, but the government too, will loose some in the form of tax.
Not only that, PC servicing/networking will loose business too if this new guideline is to be implemented. Who would want to open a cyber cafe that cannot be open during peak hours? This will indirectly affect PC servicing/networking business as there will no longer be loads of cyber cafes bosses who requires their service. What’s left, is just office and home business, and it can’t be said that servicing home and office PCs is a huge goldmine. Cyber cafes are usually goldmine for PC servicing centres. Again, there will be loss of revenue.
Don’t give me the crap about truancy. Even if you don’t allow school kids to go in cyber cafes and they wanted to skip school, they will do it anyway. They might not be able to go to cyber cafes, but there are lot more places they can go, such as shopping mall, cinemas, and god knows where else they can go in this forsaken world. I was a kaki ponteng when I was in form 5, and I am not ashame to admit it, as the school sucks and the classes bores me to death. I skipped school, but I did not go to cyber cafes. I slept in at home and watch tv instead, and no one can stopped me either, back then. If the government wants to stop students from playing truant, kindly make the education more interesting and addictive, not just requiring students to sit down rooted on the chair, shut up and agree on whatever the teachers teach.
If a cyber cafes are to banned from other co-business activities, including having games, gambling, pornography, music and publications with negative elements, what good is a cyber cafe then? Almost all cyber cafes thrive on co-businesses, especially games and music. Most cyber cafes do not allow gambling, and there’s a difference between a jackpot centre and a cyber cafe. One should not be confused that all cyber cafes are gambling centres. Those PC centres that allows gambling is not cyber cafes. they are jackpot centres. Jackpot centres usually is set up in a rather secluded areas, unlike cyber cafes that usually targeted youth as their patrons, are set up in a very strategic and easily accessible areas. Do note that most cyber cafes DO NOT allow pornography either.
And what does ‘publication with negative elements’ supposed to mean? I take it as ‘blogging’ is a negative publication element since our dear PM mentioned that ‘bloggers are responsible’ for slander and stuff and is corrupting the mind of the people. Well, it seems the authorities goes to great length to stop minds from reaching out in this technological era. They go as far as to undermine cyber cafes business. It’s such a pity. How are we supposed to move forward and open our mind to the world if we are to reject tehnological advance, especially the Internet?
I don’t know how others feels about this, but I do not wish to stay inside a coconut shell and think that it’s my whole world when I know there’s alot to be learn outside there.
Cleffairy: I’d rather have teenagers venting their hormonal or adrenaline rush in cyber cafes’ keyboard and screen than having them rempit-ing on the streets or clubbing at night. And I’d rather have them loiter and satisfy their curiosity through Internet than having them involved in crimes and trying out drugs out of curiosity