Malaysia orders ban on mobile phone use in government offices

Malaysia has banned mobile phones and handheld computers in high-security areas of government offices to prevent spying, an AFP report said.

The AFP report also quoted Malaysian chief security officer Johari Jamaluddin as saying that no breaches had yet been detected but the prevalence of electronic devices raised fears of information leaks.

'We had never felt the need to come up with such a ban before because the use of camera handphones and other electronic devices was not rampant,' Johari, quoted by local paper Star, said.

The government has also introduced electronic jamming devices in 'information security zones' where official matters are discussed, the daily said.

It said the ban was introduced after a warning from the government's chief secretary, Mohamed Sidek Hassan, to government departments, agencies, state secretaries and local councils.

Sidek said in a recent circular that phones and PDAs could be used for spying and threatened 'the country's economy, national security functions and the image of the government.'