Gobind confirms revision, not repeal for Communications and Multimedia Act

Despite promising to do away with laws deemed a threat to free speech in its GE14 manifesto, Gobind said the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition could not now repeal the CMA. — Picture by Razak Ghazali
Despite promising to do away with laws deemed a threat to free speech in its GE14 manifesto, Gobind said the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition could not now repeal the CMA. — Picture by Razak Ghazali

PETALING JAYA, Sept 4 ― The Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA) will be amended and not repealed at this point in time, Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said today.

Gobind clarified that he intends to do away with certain provisions in the CMA that are deemed a threat to free speech as listed in PH’s GE14 manifesto.

“The CMA extends beyond the (Sections) 233 and 211. It deals with a lot of other things. It is a piece of legislation which basically deals with the existence of MCMC (Malaysian Communications And Multimedia Commission), regulatory frameworks, the telcos and so forth.

“So, if you talk about repealing the whole Act, then I think that’s something that’s not attainable at this particular time.

“But if you focus on particular sections then you discuss whether or not that sections need to be repealed ― the section in itself not the whole Act; there is a big difference ― as opposed to having it amended so that the provisions become a bit more secure,’’ he said in an interview with BFM.

Section 211 deals with improper use of network facilities or network service while Section 233 prohibits the publication of offensive content on the internet.

“In the past Section 233, has been used against Opposition members and some of them have been charged.

“The current scenario is that the provision is very broad,” he said.

He added that the amendments to the provisions in the law also partly to ensure that there won’t be political persecution.

The PH coalition made good its electoral promise to do away with the Anti-Fake News Act 2018 in Parliament last month.

The law had been speedily approved by the previous Barisan Nasional government despite protests earlier this year and took force on April 2, just before the May 9 general election.

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