Sunday, February 21, 2021

Malaysiakini Contempt decision HIGHLIGHTS again why draconian section 114A Evidence Act must be repealed - it shifts burden of proof from the prosection/accuser to the accussed?

The Federal Court recent decision in the Malaysiakini contempt case puts so many of us internet users at RISK. 

Many of us have social media accounts - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blogs, etc where we express and communicate to the public at large. In many of  these accounts, members of the public(many times persons we do not know) have the ability to post comments. In some programs, before the comments become published, we have the capacity to 'moderate' - to decide whether it will be published or not, in some there is no such capacity. In some other cases, we simply just do not know how how to 'moderate' and decide whether to publish or not as most of us are simply not so computer literate. Some of us believe in FREE speech, opinion and expression, and we simply do not believe in censoring out comments - but now, there is that Section 114A Evidence Act that can make us RESPONSIBLE for the comments/statements made by others. 

Then there are also 'agents' of State,  'our enemies' or 'hackers' out there who can insert comments that could get us in trouble or even 'bad-mouthing' us. They can 'hack' or even by-pass 'moderation tools' - and things will get published. 

This bad law places on us the BURDEN OF PROOF - but we simply do not have the knowledge, skill or resources to do so...The burden of proving all the elements of a crime must always lie on the prosecution or the accuser.

So many of us have had our computers hacked or our internet accounts hacked by others(and even used by them) - now, we have to PROVE that it was not us that some 'hacker' did it. Is that JUST or even possible? 

The impact to social media and our FREE SPEECH in Malaysia will certainly be impacted, more so when the fine imposed was equivalent to about 500 times the Malaysian Minimum Wage. So, should all us 'not so rich' people simply close our social media accounts, and SHUT UP. But then, someone may hack or use our name on the internet, and we still can land into trouble - and section 114A places the burden of proving that this happens on us...totally unjust and draconian law. 

REPEAL Section 114A Evidence Act

 In the Malaysiakini contempt case, the draconian Section 114A Evidence Act(which came into force in 2012) gets HIGHLIGHTED again. 

Many, including SUHAKAM and the Malaysian Bar called for its repeal. There was even a public protest activity calling for the repeal of this section  - Internet Blackout Day 14/8/2012. The Pakatan Harapan Plus government failed to move to repeal this draconian law, as with so many others, when they had the majority support.

The worry in the earlier protest was the use of this s.114A provision for sedition, defamation or libelous actions - BUT now the concern extends to CONTEMPT OF COURT, more so since Malaysiakini, not even the author of the allegedly contemptuous comments have been fined RM500,000. 

There is DOUBT whether the Federal Court even analyzed judicially the words/statement to determine whether they were contemptuous - the Press Summary available now indicates that they did not - but we must wait for the full WRITTEN JUDGMENT to see what the court did or did not. Agreements of parties should not mean that Court will not analyze and determine whether the alleged comments were contemptuous or not.

Section 114 creates a LEGAL PRESUMPTION that shifts the burden of proving from the prosecutor/accuser on the accused person, which goes against the NORM where the duty to PROVE BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT of all elements of a crime on the Prosecution - not the accused.  

Other infamous legal presumption in Malaysia is the presumption of possession or trafficking of drugs that falls on the accused who is caught in possession of drugs. Above a certain quantity, the accused is presumed to be a drug trafficker - and it is the accused that given the near impossible burden of proving that it was not his/her drugs or that he/she is not a drug trafficker.[There is always the possibility that someone else could have placed the drugs into the car or room or house of the 'accused' to get the accused into trouble.

Now, here the presumption shifts to the owner of competer or internet accounts, some of which we cannot even stop third party comments being published...or do not know how to. How do you prove that you did not make the comments...or you did not allow the comments(if there is even a possibility of active approval of comments before publication). How do we prove some HACKER was the one that said this and that using our computer or our internet account?

REPEAL SECTION 114A - Burden of proving must be on Prosecution or Accusser - never on the accussed.  





114A  Presumption of fact in publication[EVIDENCE ACT 1950]

(1) A person whose name, photograph or pseudonym appears on any publication depicting himself as the owner, host, administrator, editor or sub-editor, or who in any manner facilitates to publish or re-publish the publication is presumed to have published or re-published the contents of the publication unless the contrary is proved.

(2) A person who is registered with a network service provider as a subscriber of a network service on which any publication originates from is presumed to be the person who published or re-published the publication unless the contrary is proved.

(3) Any person who has in his custody or control any computer on which any publication originates from is presumed to have published or re-published the content of the publication unless the contrary is proved.

(4) For the purpose of this section-

(a)"network service" and "network service provider" have the meaning assigned to them in section 6 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 [Act 588]; and

(b)"publication" means a statement or a representation, whether in written, printed, pictorial, film, graphical, acoustic or other form displayed on the screen of a computer.

EVIDENCE (AMENDMENT) (NO. 2) ACT 2012,  In Force from:  31 July 2012 [PU(B) 255/2012] 

Suhakam wants govt to review Section 114A of Evidence Act

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 26 Aug 2012

KUALA LUMPUR: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) wants the government to review, amend or even repeal Section 114A of the Evidence (Amendment) (No.2) Act 2012, saying it goes against a fundamental principle of law that a person is considered innocent until proven guilty.

Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam said the new law also violated the human rights principle of freedom of expression as enshrined in Article 19 of both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

"While the presumption of fact under Section 114A is rebuttable, a person against whom presumption is applied may lack the time, resources and more importantly, technical expertise in relation to the Internet environment, to prove the contrary in order to rebut the presumption," he said in a statement here Saturday night.

He said that in contrast, the prosecution may be better equipped to prove the guilt of the accused, as they were authorised to compel any potential witness, the technical expertise and resources to assist in the investigation.

He added that Section 114A might have the potential and negative effect of discouraging expression, dissemination and sharing of ideas, news and information via the Internet, thus limiting and impinging on freedom of expression.

"The Commission looks forward to engaging with the Attorney General's Chambers and other stakeholders in the review of the Act, as well as in the drafting of any new law to ensure that they are consistent with universally accepted human rights principles," Hasmy said.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz on Thursday had said that the government would not seek to review the law. - Bernama- Star, 26/8/2012


Press release: Repeal section 114A of the Evidence Act 1950 13 Aug 2012 3:19 pm

The Malaysian Bar appreciates that the problem of anonymity on the Internet is of a different nature to that in the print media.  Persons hiding behind the cloak of a false persona can incite racial hatred, incite and organise violent hate crimes and commit fraud and escape being identified.  Hence there is a need for some statutory intervention to ensure criminal elements do not exploit the anonymity that the Internet can provide to escape the consequences of their actions.

However, the Malaysian Bar is of the view that the recently–introduced section 114A of the Evidence Act of 19501, which came into force on 31 July 20122 , is not the answer to these problems, and should be repealed.  Suitable replacement legislation can be enacted later, if necessary, but only after full consultation with all stakeholders.

Section 114A as it stands creates a presumption that any registered user of network services is presumed to be the publisher of a publication sent from a computer which is linked to that network service, unless the contrary is proved.  The section also provides that any “person whose name, photograph or pseudonym appears on any publication depicting himself as the owner, host, administrator, editor or sub–editor, or who in any manner facilitates to publish or re–publish the publication is presumed to have published or re–published the contents of the publication unless the contrary is proved.”

Such a section would therefore create a presumption that is so wide that even the owner of a coffee shop that offered a free wi–fi facility could be presumed to have published an online publication originating from a computer using the wi–fi facility.  Although it is true that the presumption enacted is merely a rebuttable presumption, dragging such persons into court in the first place, and the embarrassment, cost and inconvenience that an ordinary layperson could be subjected to, cannot be compensated for by any eventual victory.

Such wide and draconian provisions find no equivalent in modern democracies such as Australia, Canada, United Kingdom or United States.

At a forum hosted by the Malaysian Bar as part of the “Siri Pemikiran Kritis” initiative organised by the Malaysian Bar’s National Young Lawyers Committee on 11 Aug 2012, YB Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah, Deputy Minister for Higher Education, Member of Parliament for Temerloh, and a prolific twitter user, himself admitted that in his view, the section is too wide and its introduction should have seen greater debate in Parliament.  This view was echoed by YB Khairy Jamaluddin, UMNO Youth Head and Member of Parliament for Rembau, as reported in the press.  It would appear that these concerns are well founded: the first reading of the Bill was on 10 Apr 2012, and the Bill was passed by the Dewan Rakyat with about four hours of debate on 18 Apr 20123.

Both MPs have said they would try and rally Barisan Nasional backbenchers to speak to members of the Cabinet in order to review the section.

We urge Members of Parliament from both sides of the divide to make a bipartisan approach to the Government to take immediate steps to repeal section 114A.  In formulating a replacement to section 114A, we urge the Government to embrace an open and transparent process for drafting suitable legislation to address the problems of anonymous cybercrimes by having public consultations with all relevant stakeholders. 

The Malaysian Bar suggests that the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission take the lead in this process, and set up an interim task force with the assistance of the Bar Council, civil society actors (such as the Centre for Independent Journalism), industry players and technology experts.
That task force should be entrusted with drafting a White Paper to set the parameters for a comprehensive piece of legislation to address the concerns of all parties in formulating legislation that would balance the rights of reputation, property, free speech and privacy.  That White Paper could then be the subject of a public consultation, which would assist the Parliamentary Draftsman to formulate a more comprehensive draft Bill to address this problem.  Technology itself may offer a solution to this problem rather than legislation, and this option should also be considered.

Whilst this sort of legislative process is perhaps more far–reaching and would take more time, it is the Malaysian Bar’s view that only such a process can provide a comprehensive piece of legislation that would address the concerns of all parties.
Lim Chee Wee
Malaysian Bar
13 Aug 2012

In order to show solidarity with Malaysian netizens, who have petitioned for the removal of section 114A, the Malaysian Bar will participate in the Internet Blackout Day on 14 Aug 2012 organised by the Centre for Independent Journalism4

1 Amended by the Evidence (Amendment) (No 2) Act 2012.
2 Carried into force vide PU(B) 255/2012.
3 Hansard shows that debate was from approximately 10:30 am to 1:00 pm, and then from 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm.
4 See for more information on this initiative.

About Section 114A

Soalan-soalan Lazim Berkaitan Seksyen 114 (a) Akta Keterangan 2012

1. Apakah itu Seksyen 114 A?

Seksyen 114 A, “Andaian Fakta dalam Penerbitan”, merupakan pindaan terbaru terhadap Akta Keterangan 1950. Pindaan tersebut yang diluluskan Dewan Rakyat tanpa didebatkan terlebih dahulu pada 18 April 2012 dan melalui Dewan Negara pada 9 Mei 2012. Pindaan ini telah diwartakan dan mula berkuatkuasa mulai 31 Julai 2012.

Seksyen 114 A, yang boleh diguna pakai dalam kes jenayah dan juga sivil, mengandaikan bahawa pemilik, pengendali, hos, editor, pelanggan sesebuah rangkaian atau laman web, atau pemilik komputer atau peralatan mudah alih dianggap bertanggungjawab menyiarkan atau mengulangsiarkan isi kandungan yang terdapat pada rangkaian, laman web atau peralatan terbabit.

2. Apakah tujuan asal pindaan ini diperkenalkan?

Tujuan asal pindaan ini adalah untuk mengenal pasti individu yang bertanggungjawab ke atas penyiaran dan penyebaran bahan berunsur hasutan di internet.

Bagi pihak berkuasa, proses menjejaki dan mengenal pasti individu yang terlibat dalam penyiaran atau penyebaran bahan berunsur hasutan di internet merupakan sesuatu yang sukar. Individu tersebut dengan mudah mengambil kesempatan menyembunyikan identiti mereka di internet kerana kesukaran pihak berkuasa mengawal internet yang luas dan terbuka. Penyembunyian identiti juga menggalakkan rakyat menyatakan pendapat tanpa rasa takut kepada mana-mana pihak. Selain itu, oleh sebab maklumat mudah berpindah dari satu pihak ke pihak yang lain, pihak berkuasa mengalami kesukaran untuk mengesan individu asal yang bertanggungjawab menyebarkan maklumat tersebut.

3. Apakah kekurangan yang ada pada Seksyen 114A?

Pindaan ini jelas mengandaikan kesalahan terletak pada individu yang identitinya diguna pakai dalam penyiaran atau penyebaran maklumat berbentuk hasutan tanpa mengambil kira faktor seperti kecurian identiti dan penggodaman komputer. Kesalahan juga terletak pada pihak yang menyediakan ruangan komen pada blog, forum dan pengendali laman web walaupun maklumat tersebut disiarkan oleh pihak lain.

Pelaksanaan pindaan baru ini boleh mengakibatkan pihak yang tidak terlibat menjadi mangsa. Pindaan ini juga bercanggah dengan prinsip asas keadilan yang menyatakan seseorang tidak bersalah selagi kesalahannya tidak dibuktikan.

Selain itu, undang-undang yang diperkenalkan ini tidak akan dapat memerangi jenayah siber dengan berkesan kerana pindaan ini secara tidak langsung melindungi penjenayah siber dengan meletakkan kesalahan ke atas mangsa mereka yang komputer atau akaun Facebook dan Twitternya digodam.

4. Apakah implikasi pindaan ini terhadap individu?

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Pelaksanaan Seksyen 114 A mempunyai kesan yang luas terhadap setiap pengguna internet yang meliputi pelbagai platform seperti emel dan media sosial. Pindaan ini awal-awal lagi telah meletakkan kesalahan ke atas individu yang memiliki laman web atau peralatan yang mana kenyataan atau isi kandungan berunsur hasutan tersiar. Di bawah Seksyen 114 A, individu atau organisasi yang mengendali, menyelia atau menyediakan ruang untuk forum, blog atau perkhidmatan pengehosan web adalah bertanggungjawab terhadap segala kandungan yang terdapat dalam perkhidmatan terbabit. Mereka juga bertanggungjawab terhadap kandungan yang diterbitkan oleh pihak lain yang menyamar menggunakan identiti mereka di internet. Hasilnya, Seksyen ini mengancam kebebasan bersuara di internet, serta mengancam prinsip asas keadilan, demokrasi dan hak asasi manusia.

5. Apakah implikasi pindaan ini terhadap ekonomi negara?

Pada tahun 2010, sektor internet menyumbang 4.1% (30 billion) kepada KDNK Malaysia – angka yang lebih tinggi daripada kebanyakan negara maju yang mana sektor internetnya menyumbang kira-kira 3.4% KDNK mereka[1]. Ekonomi berasaskan internet di negara ini bercambah dengan pesat hasil daripada kebebasan berinternet yang dinikmati para pengguna perkhidmatan tersebut. Kejayaan perniagaan-perniagaan internet juga berkait rapat dengan kebolehan pengguna-pengguna internet mencipta, mencari serta berkongsi maklumat.

Populariti rangkaian laman sosial juga mendorong perniagaan-perniagaan untuk membangunkan strategi pemasaran yang berinovatif serta mampu menjana kemajuan ekonomi. Facebook dan Twitter juga membantu perniagaan mempromosikan produk mereka. Selain itu peniaga juga dapat meningkatkan mutu produk hasil daripada maklum balas pembeli melalui laman sosial tersebut. Oleh itu, kemajuan ekonomi berasaskan internet bergangtung kepada inisiatif yang mampu menggalakkan penggunaan internet dan bukannya langkah yang membantutkan.

Seksyen 114 A menghalang penggunaan dan penghasilan maklumat di internet. Oleh sebab pindaan tersebut meletakkan beban membuktikan kesalahan di bahu pemilik sesebuah laman web atau peralatan, penghasilan dan perkongsian maklumat di internet akan terbantut akibat ketakutan dan risiko didakwa. Hasilnya, pindaan yang baru ini akan menjejaskan perniagaan-perniagaan kecil mahupun besar yang bergantung pada penglibatan pengguna-pengguna internet.

6. Mengapa kebebasan bersuara di internet perlu dipertahankan?

Perkongsian maklumat yang bebas dan terbuka merupakan asas bagi sebuah sistem demokrasi yang kukuh. Hal ini memastikan rakyat sentiasa dibekalkan dengan maklumat yang tepat supaya mereka dapat memainkan peranan yang aktif dalam proses demokrasi di negara ini. Internet yang mampu mempercepatkan proses penyampaian maklumat berkemampuan untuk melancarkan proses demokrasi. Justeru, rakyat perlu menggunakan hak bersuara mereka tidak kira dalam apa jua bentuk termasuk di internet. Suara rakyat perlu didengar. Oleh itu, jika Seksyen 114 A yang baru ini dilaksanakan, prinsip demokrasi serta kebebasan bersuara rakyat akan terjejas teruk.

7. Pihak mana yang menentang Seksyen 114A?

Pada 31 Mei 2012, Pusat Kewartawanan Bebas (CIJ) melancarkan satu e-petisyen untuk mendapatkan sokongan kepada kempen untuk menghentikan pindaan ini daripada diwartakan. Dalam masa sebulan, lebih daripada 3300 individu menandatangani petisyen tersebut untuk menyatakan tentangan mereka terhadap pindaan tersebut. Dalam kalangan mereka yang berbuat demikian termasuklah Ahli Parlimen Segambut Lim Lip Eng, pengarah filem terkenal Pete Teo, penulis and personaliti radio Patrick Teoh, aktivis sosial Marina Mahathir dan Dr. Irene Fernandez, dan ahli akademik ternama seperti Dr. Azmi Sharom dan Dr. Mustafa K. Anuar.

Selain itu, ahli-ahli parlimen dari Barisan Nasional turut menyatakan ketidaksenangan mereka dengan pindaan tersebut. Khairy Jamaluddin menyifatkan bahawa beban membuktikan kesalahan perlu sentiasa terletak pada pihak pendakwa[2]. Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah pula berpendapat bahawa pindaan tersebut perlu ditarik semula[3].

Pada 28 Jun 2012, Pakatan Rakyat mengeluarkan kenyataan untuk menyarankan pihak kerajaan menarik semula Seksyen 114A tersebut. Kenyataan terbabit ditandatangani oleh Ahli Parlimen Subang R Sivarasa, Ahli Parlimen Batu Gajah Fong Po Kuan, dan Ahli Parlimen Kuala Selangor Dzulkefly Ahmad[4].

[1] Joseph Chin, “McKinsey, Google: Internet contributed RM30 bn of Malaysia’s GDP in 2010”, The Edge Malaysia, 01 February 2012, online at:

[2] Leven Woon, “Youth chief wants Evidence Act changes revoked”, Malaysiakini, 16 June 2012, online at:

3 “Saifuddin: Move should be revoked”, The Malay Mail, 4 July 2012, print.

4 Teoh El Sen, “Pakatan seeks to halt new Evidence Act”, Free Malaysia Today, 28 June 2012, online at:


What is Section 114A?

Section 114A is the second of two amendments made to Malaysia’s Evidence Act 1950.

Law Minister Nazri Aziz tabled the second amendment, formally known as Evidence (Amendment) (No2) Act 2012, in Dewan Rakyat on 18 April. James Dawos Mamit supported the motion, and Section 114A was passed after the second and third reading. On 9 May, Dewan Negara passed the amendment.

The amendment was gazetted on 31 July 2012. This means the law is now operational.

What is the purpose of Section 114A?

Section 114A deals with allegedly illicit or harmful content on the Internet. In short, the amendment enables law enforcement officials to swiftly hold someone accountable for publishing seditious, defamatory, or libelous content online.

How does Section 114A affect you?

Titled “Presumption of Fact in Publication”, Section 114A holds the following people accountable for publishing content online:

(1) those who own, administrate, or edit websites open to public contributors, such as online forums or blogs;

(2) those who provide webhosting services or Internet access; and

(3) those own the computer or mobile device used to publish content online.

In other words, if allegedly defamatory content is traced back to your username, electronic device, and/or WiFi network, Section 114A presumes you are guilty of publishing illicit content on the Internet.

But what if you were the victim of identity theft and a hacker wrongfully used your Twitter or Facebook account to post defamatory content?

Under Section 114A, you are still considered guilty until proven innocent.

What is wrong with Section 114A?

Section 114A is problematic for a number of reasons:

i) It disproportionately burdens average Internet users who are wrongfully accused of publishing seditious or defamatory content.

ii) It makes Internet intermediaries–parties that provide online community forums, blogging and hosting services–liable for content that is published through their services.

iii) It allows hackers and cyber criminals to be free by making the person whose account/computer is hacked liable for any content/data which might have changed.

iv) It is a bad law passed in haste and does not take into account public interest and participation.

To get more details on how Section 114A could affect you, check out the infographic below:

Click to Enlarge

How will Section 114A affect the freedom of expression?

Section 114A threatens the right to freedom of expression. Internet users may resort to self-censorship to avoid false accusations made under Section 114A. Bloggers, for example, may excessively censor comments made by their readers.  As a result, Section 114A inadvertently stifles public discussion about pertinent political or social issues and protects public authorities, such as the State, from public scrutiny.

Visit our Resources page to get a more detailed look at the text and implications of Section 114A.





What is Section 114A?



What is the purpose of Section 114A?



What does Section 114A presume?


(一)          拥有、管理、或编辑对公众开放言论空间的网页,如各类论坛或部落格的相关人士;

(二)          提供网络伺服器或上网服务的相关人士;及

(三)          用以发布相关内容的电脑或仪器的持有人。





What is wrong with Section 114A?


(一)         它把错误的将大部分(在互联网)发布煽动性或诽谤性内容的责任放在普通网民身上。

(二)         它让提供或管理网上论坛、部落格和伺服器的中介单位,必须为所有(在其所提供的服务范围内)刊载的内容负起法律责任。

(三)         它将互联网罪行的责任转嫁到受害者身上,世道入侵民众互联网户口或电脑并修改其内容及数据资料的骇客或网络罪犯得以免于承担(法律)责任。

(四)         它是仓促通过及不考虑公众利益及公众参与的一项糟糕的法律。


How will Section 114A affect the freedom of expression?

第114A条文威胁了言论自由的权利。网民需常自我审查以避免在此条文下被错误提控。比方说,部落客需大量审查读者的留言。因此,第114A条文间接钳制了大众针对政治或社会课题的言论自由,并保护了政府当局以免于公众的监控。- Source:- Stop 114A - A campaign for Internet Freedom


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