Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Belated seventh month horror story

The Chinese seventh lunar month may be well over but this story from today's online edition of Malaysiakini is guaranteed to send shivers down the spines of our corporate leaders. Thought it would be significant enough to reproduce the story here since this section of the Evidence Act 1950 impinges on all of us.

The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) has expressed concern over the recent inclusion of Section 114A into the Evidence Act 1950 and its impact on businesses.

The new section could have an impact on businesses that extensively use online and social media platforms, FMM said in a press statement yesterday.

In view of this, FMM said, it would hold a seminar on the matter at its Kuala Lumpur headquarters on Oct 30 to educate the business community on the matter.

"The seminar will aim to cater to the needs of the business community that runs websites with forums, manages e-commerce sites, engages via social networks, provides free Wi-Fi in their premises and other areas that may expose them to the ‘risks' of Section 114A.

"While there may be concerns (real or perceived), it is important for the business community to have a clear understanding of Section 114A and its impact on their business operations.

"FMM would like to provide a neutral, business-oriented platform for businesses to understand and to be ready and protected," the FMM's ICT and multimedia committee head Yong Yoon Kit said in the statement.

Among the speakers at the seminar will Bar Council president Lim Chee Wee and the chief executive officer of Malaysian Insider Jahabar Sadiq.

Gov't unmoved

Legal experts believe that the new Section 114A of the Evidence Act will allow anybody, including the government, to initiate legal or criminal action against social network users, website owners, mobile device owners or WiFi network service providers over content posted by other individuals.

Led by advocacy group Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), a widely received campaign against the amendment was carried out in August, forcing Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to order cabinet to "discuss" the matter.

The cabinet did discuss the matter in Najib's absence, when he was abroad on official duty, and it decided against reviewing the amendment. This position was also taken by attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail.

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