Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Evidence law review reflects PM, parliament’s weaknesses

August 15, 2012
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 15 —  Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's decision to review a controversial amendment that could curb freedom of expression on the Internet shows his and the parliamentary system's weakness in deliberating laws, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) said today.

PR secretariat members Nurul Izzah Anwar, Liew Chin Tong and Dr Hatta Ramli also mocked the decision to review the amendment to Section 114A of Evidence Act 1950 after a number of organisations and people in Malaysian cyberspace  dimmed their websites to protest the law.

"The decision to review the law showed the Prime Minister's weakness since he only announced it after the blackout was over," said Nurul Izzah, who is also PKR vice-president and Lembah Pantai MP in a press conference today.

She was referring to the Centre for Independent Journalism's (CIJ) Internet Blackout Day event yesterday protesting the amendment which gained support of politicians, popular websites and online personalities alike.

Izzah said PKR has always fought for reform in the parliament system so that laws would go through a specialised committee before being debated.

PAS treasurer Dr Hatta said the Prime Minister's "flip-flopping" action was due to a rush to approve legislation which showed that the government's efforts brash and insincere.

DAP lawmaker Liew said that the Section 114A amendment was one of the eight bills that were bulldozed through on the last day of parliament.

"This current situation shows that the parliamentary system is weak because there is no prior discussion of the bills with us or the stakeholders before they are tabled," he added.

The amendment was passed by the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara in April this year and was gazetted on  July 31 by de facto law Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz.

Critics have pointed out that Section 114A is too broad and contains several weaknesses, such as assuming that an administrator of a website, or an owner of a computer, is the publisher of the content unless it can be proven otherwise.

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