PAKATAN RAKYAT PRESS STATEMENT – 28TH June 2012
We the undersigned Pakatan Rakyat Members of Parliament wish to record our serious concern with the impact of introducing the new section 114(A) to the Evidence Act 1950.
This amendment was rushed through in the last part of the April session of Parliament. We are of the view that the serious consequences of the amendment have been overlooked.
Our concerns about the amendment include the following:
i. The amendment wrongfully presumes guilt rather than innocence. It makes individuals and organizations who administer, operate or provide spaces for online community forums, blogging and hosting services, liable for content that is published thought its services. This undermines core principles of justice, democracy and fundamental human rights.
ii. It allows hackers and cyber criminals to go free by making the person whose account/computer is hacked liable for any content/data which might have changed.
iii. The above will cause a chilling effect on user-driven production and consumption of Internet content which can negatively impact Malaysia’s thriving Internet economy, a significant contributor ( about 4% ) to our country’s GDP.
iv. It threatens the principle of anonymity online, which is crucial in promoting a free and open Internet.
v. It threatens freedom of expression online. UN special Rapporteur Frank La Rue issued a 2011 report underscoring the right to freedom of expression on the Internet and expressed his concern that laws that purportedly protect an individual’s reputation, public order, or national security ultimately are used censor the expression of information deemed unfavorable to the government and other powerful bodies.
This amendment contradicts the policy of local governments like DBKL and others who are promoting and considering making it mandatory for food establishments like cafes and restaurants to provide Wifi services to their customers. These amendments put the owners of such establishments in the unacceptable situation where they are now held criminally liable for the actions of anonymous customers.
We call upon the Barisan Nasional government to halt any further progress on this Bill although it has been approved by the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara, and not gazette the Bill.
Legislation to repeal this Bill should be initiated at the next session of Parliament.
Pakatan Rakyat commits to such a repeal in the event that the Barisan Nasional does not implement it.
Sivarasa Rasiah, Member for Subang, Parti Keadilan Rakyat
Fong Po Kuan, Member for Batu Gajah, Democratic Action Party
Dr Dzukifli Ahmad, Member for Kuala Selangor, Parti Islam Se-Malaysia