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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Section 114(a) Of The Evidence Act



The amendement to Section 114(a) of Evidence Act is another piece of unthinking legislation that has been passed by the Gomen. And it appears that the Gomen itself is uncertain about this amendment. Otherwise why would the Prime Minister ask for the Cabinet to discuss the amendement again?


PM: Review Evidence Act

PM NAJIB TWEETED THAT HE HAS ASKED THE CABINET TO DISCUSS A CONTROVERSIAL AMENDMENT TO THE EVIDENCE ACT 1950.

“Whatever we do, we must put the people first,'' he said 
Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Senator Gan Ping Sieu said the new law would “cause hardship to innocent agents caught up in a case of Internet abuse, such as hacking, identity theft or even pranks such as Tweet-jacking'”, as well as Internet service providers like cyber cafes.
“For example, if an irresponsible individual comes to my Facebook page and posts a defamatory message or hate remark, will I be held responsible even though the comments did not originate from me?” asked the MCA vice-president.
And of course the Minister in charge of this amendment or explaining it to the public is no other than Nazri Aziz. Nazri must have either been dropped on his head when he was a child or he was accidentally left inside a refrigerator as a baby. Nazri was behind suspending that MIC MP for six months without pay in 2008. Do you all remember that incident? 
It is true that the present set of laws do not allow for easy conviction of what can be deemed to be "offensive words" written on the Internet. And there is very good reason for that.
My view is that other than making a threat  against someone's life or threatening to cause or inciting to cause someone physical harm I dont see how any crime can be committed simply by typing words on a keypad. How can words, no matter how offended someone may feel about them, hurt anyone?
In Malaysia, Internet offenses are quite new. The Courts have not convicted too many people because the Courts want solid, irrefutable evidence that the person charged  actually typed the offending words using his or her own hands on the keypad. This is often very difficult to prove.
Also how do you catch people who post things from a Cyber Cafe? Or from Starbucks? And starting Friday, the new GO KL buses will offer free WiFi on board. So if someone wants to post something that is offensive (or criminal) he can still post it from Starbucks, from MyMart, from a CyberCafe or from a GO KL bus. In such event will Tan Sri Vincent Tan be charged in Court? He is the owner of Starbucks. Or will Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar be charged in Court? He is the Chairman of SPAD which will soon be running GO KL buses with free WiFi on them.
What if someone borrows his friend's I Phone to post something that later turned out to be criminally offensive? Who do you charge in Court? According to the new amendments to the Evidence Act the owner of the I Phone will be charged. OK so the Prosecutor's job has become easy but has justice been served? You did not get the real "criminal".
What if the house phone is registered in grandma's name and her 24 year old grandson posted something offensive on the Net? Grandma will have to go to jail. Grandson gets to visit her in jail. Hishamuddin Hussein said 'thinking people' will not object to this amendment. Hisham please go get an MRI done.  You must satisfy yourself there is something other than air between your ears ok? Seriously bro.

And these offences can be easily circumvented by technology too. What if IP strings (your telephone link) becomes redundant? What if you can send Internet messages thru your TV connection thru a satellite hook up? We do not know how the communications technology will evolve tomorrow. For example the technology has long existed where TNB can read your electricity consumption by sending and receiving messages thru the electric wires. Pun boleh.  Technology keeps changing. 
I think the amendment is being done because the Prosecutors want to make their work easier.

If an offense has been committed, the person who is the owner of the telephone connection (grandma for example) will be charged in Court. Case closed. Everyone can go home and sleep soundly. Grandma is already in jail. But what about the real culprit? "Thinking people"  must worry about the real culprit.

Except for Hisham and Nazri. Their view is "as long as someone goes to jail for the 'offense' - it is job done."  Whether justice is really served or not, itu semua belakang kira. Thats why I think both Hisham and Nazri should be X rayed - every three months.

I think the real reason the Cabinet wants to amend the Evidence Act is because they want to protect themselves. This is the Billionaire's Club remember. Remember all the NFC Lembu Condo exposures? Well with this amendements to the Evidence Act, it may frighten people from writing such things on the Internet.

This amendment to the Evidence Act protects the Billioanire Ministers as well. Their turf is protected. If someone says something about the Ministers that is not fully accurate, they can be charged in Court. Well if the culprits use some thinking, Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar or their own grandmas can go to jail. The culprits can still go Scot free. This amendment does not really solve much. It creates new problems because the wrong people (your grandma for example) may be put in jail.
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