|Bar Council hopes PM will step in|
|Friday, 17 August 2012 01:42pm|
©The Star (Used by permission)
PETALING JAYA: The Bar Council is still hopeful the Cabinet may change its mind about accepting a controversial amendment to the Evidence Act when the Prime Minister chairs its next meeting after his return from his trip abroad.
Its chairman Lim Chee Wee said that although Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim might be right in saying that the presumption under Section 114A of the Evidence Act was “not uncommon”, this was the first time that it would be applied so widely.
“This is the first occasion that such a presumption applies so widely and in a sphere of human activity and open to manipulation and hacking by others.
“Contrast this to the presumption of being in physical possession of drugs leading to trafficking if it exceeds a prescribed quantity.
“Section 114A (of the Evidence Act) has no equivalent in other jurisdictions such as Australia, Canada, Britain and the United States,” he said in an e-mail reply here yesterday.
Section 114A presumes publication and ownership of offending materials posted online if they are made using someone’s identity or device.
Lim also urged concerned Parliamentarians to move a private member’s bill on the matter although Section 114A had become law after being passed and gazetted.
There must also be adequate public consultation on law reform so that the Prime Minister and the Cabinet would not end up being on the back foot without knowing in advance what the concerns of the people are, he said.
The Centre for Independent Journalism executive officer Masjaliza Hamzah said the Cabinet’s decision went against the support that Netizens had given for the amendment to be withdrawn.
She said the centre had received 117,000 views on its website about the Internet Blackout Day on Aug 14.
“We still want the Government to withdraw the amendment,” she said, adding that current laws were adequate in addressing defamation and sedition.
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