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Digital Gap Audit Research in Malaysia

This is a project about exploring internet access gaps for marginalised communities, access to rights content and identifying digital rights issues affecting marginalised communities within the framework of Web Foundation's Gender Gap Toolkit.


Malaysia is Federal Constitutional Elective country with Westminster Parliamentary System. The Malaysian government has been enthusiastic about the access of internet since the birth of Jaring Communications Sdn Bhd on 1992, being the first internet service provider (ISP) in the country. Then, Telekom Malaysia Berhad follow suit as the second ISP on 1995 which ended up became the main leading company for 20 years. Now, many mobile telecommunication companies advance in the industry and provide more options for users to access to internet such as Celcom, Maxis, Digi and UMobile. In the Internet Users Survey 2016, 24.1 million of persons is estimated to be internet users since 2015. More than 80% of internet users prefers mobile broadband to access and use the internet compared to on-the-go. The inequality of internet access and use is not exclusive to Malaysia, the survey have documented - males and females have almost equal internet access and experiences.

The problem of cyber harassment and cyber behavior online have been growing exponentially in Malaysia as well as globally. There are 2 provisions from Communications and Multimedia 1998 (CMA 1998) that are applicable to cyber threats/harassment - sections 211 and 233(1) of the CMA 1998. These 2 provisions does not provide clear definition of cyber threats/harassments for words that are “menacing” and “offensive”. In the survey conducted by PeopleAct, females have been experiencing more online harassment than men. In most cases, perpetrators of cyber threats/harassments are rarely held accountable.

Consequently, there is a lack of accountability from decision makers to take cyber threats/harassments seriously at sub-national and national level. A social audit in which the community can collect publicly (and privately) report issues, which are then mapped against Digital Gender Gap 14 indicators across 5 themes that affect them will help them hold perpetrators and decision makers accountable for ICT policies priorities with data and reports to back it up. Negotiation and consultation from both sides; the community and decision makers are crucial to achieve common grounds on cyber threats/harassment in relation to participatory decision making. It would allow the community to be empowered to monitor whether actions are taken appropriately.


  • Promoting a Culture of Openness
  • Making Government Information Transparent
  • Enabling Electronic Communication of Government Information
  • Access to Elected Representatives and Decision Makers
  • Improve livelihood and digital literacy of disenfranchised communities



  • 6 months


    • Semi-rural digital rights gap survey report and action plan.
    • Community workshops: Meaningful access, digital safety and privacy.
    • Issues paper on ICT policies.


    • Better understanding of Internet access gaps for marginalized communities, leading to better policies and programmes that utilize digital content channels for outreach.
    • Greater participation and demand for access to rights content for marginalized communities including but not limited to gender, economic, education and legal rights.
    • Highlight wider range of digital rights issues affecting marginalized communities within framework of Web Foundation’s Gender Gap Toolkit.


    • US$ 7,000 for staff time
    • US$ 3,000 for hard costs for undertaking research work, workshops, meetings

    Lead contact


    World Wide Web Foundation

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    Current Status

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    Making monetary contributions for this project is easy. You can make a bank transfer or deposit to the following account:

    BANK Malayan Banking Berhad 
    BENEFICIARY Sinar Project PLT
    ACCOUNT 512307614259

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    Project Lead

    Sze Ming

    Sze Ming