THE UMNO-BARISAN POLITICS OF VEILS WAS NOT MEANT FOR THE FACE ,BUT WAS MEANT FOR THE SECTION 114A OF EVIDENCE ACT
I always thought that nobody is invincible and untouchable except the Almighty! The question that invariably accompanies this would be: What “hold” has the AG on Jib? Something to ponder over
One can drive a very large truck of suspect cargo through the door marked ‘patriotism’. Once the integrity of the nation is invoked and the spectre of social and communal unrest is seen as being at stake, the state buys for itself a lot of room for actions that might have otherwise seemed unpalatable. In that sense, the decision to impose some kind of regulation The purpose in introducing this law is to gag the opposition and civil society critics of the regime. The recent exemption of Umno Youth from being prosecuted under Section 114A by the police is proof this legislation is directed at silencing the enemies of the regime. There is a third way of repealing Section 114A of the Evidence Act. Press the reset button on GE13 and begin anew as a nation to rebuild and restore our twisted legal system and broken down state institutions.
The contentious Section 114A of the amended Evidence Act can be abolished via a constitutional challenge, said Bar Council president Lim Chee Wee.
In an email response, he said Articles 5(1) and 8(1) of the federal constitution state that ‘no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty save in accordance with law’, and that everyone has equal protection of the law.
Furthermore, under Article 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, every individual is innocent until proven guilty when charged with a penal offence.
“Our Federal Court (has) reiterated that our criminal justice system stands on the twin pillars of the burden of proof lying with the prosecution and the common law principle of presumption of innocence. (These) together safeguard the guarantee of the right to a fair trial,” Lim said.
He explained that the argument with Section 114A is that it goes against the presumption of innocence, and that it is harder to prove guilt in case of offences involving the Internet.
This is because of free access leaves the network host responsible any inappropriate action.
Another way of resolving the situation, Lim said, would be by asking Parliament and Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail (right)to persuade the authorities and the government’s chief legal adviser to remove the amendment from the statute books.
According the Star, the Bar Council had met Abdul Gani last Friday at his office in Putrajaya.
Section 114A was introduced as an amendment to the Evidence Act in April.
If the person or organisation is not the author, it is up to them to prove innocence. The same applies to network owners whose Internet connectivity is used by others for ‘illegal’ activities.But instead, the government has chosen to act with staggering incompetence and transparent dishonesty, in deciding to use this discretion by trying to block a reported 300 items that include websites and 21 twitter handles, many of which have nothing to do with Assam or what happened thereafter. As persuasive the list of those blocked is a bizarre one, as it includes journalists and politicians among others, and the names indicate that the Government ‘s intentions are mala fide in that there is a clear attempt to muzzle dissent as well as plain stupid given that there are some on the list who by the widest stretch of imagination, cannot be seen as a threat to anything, let alone something as lofty as the integrity of the nation. What the state has effectively done is to confirm all anxieties that existed about its real intentions. That it has a fundamental discomfort with criticism and a deep hostility towards any attempt to ridicule its actions and that it will use any excuse it gets to launch an attack on the freedom of expression on the Internet. Besides, even if the attempt had been honest in trying to stop rumour-mongering, the actions taken were hardly likely to have the desired impact. The digital world is too agile and inventive for the lumbering machinery of the government to match up to, and would easily bypass these crude attempts at blocking the flow of information.But there is an issue with social media that needs some introspection. When all readers turn broadcasters, what happens to the rights of those who are being written about? Earlier the freedom to expression was effectively outsourced to mainstream media and while it strove to represent public opinion, it did not allow the public to express itself directly, except in highly controlled ways. Getting a letter published in the Letters to the Editor space, for instance, was often a heroic struggle. Traditional media is governed, on paper, by a set of guidelines and rules that attempt to provide protection to those impacted by what they publish or broadcast and legal redress is available to those that feel aggrieved by the same. In reality, particularly in India, the act of going to court and pursuing a case of defamation is so difficult, expensive and time-consuming that the right for redress often remains theoretical. The protection, such as it is exists, comes because news organisations have some internal guidelines about what they will or will not publish, and imperfect as they increasingly might be, at least they exist.
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As part of the BBC’s Who Runs Your World? series, Jonathan Kent in Kuala Lumpur looks at how Malaysia’s notorious triad gangs are run.