Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Anti-ISA proponents must also pay attention to Penal Code amendments

Anti-ISA Detention without trial advocates must also pay attention to the amendments being done to the Penal Code.

Attention must be paid to phrases being used, like  “activity detrimental to parliamentary democracy” - what does this really mean? Would the calling for people to publicly protest and take part in BERSIH, HIMPUNAN HIJAU rallies etc be considered '“activity detrimental to parliamentary democracy”?

Disseminating 'false information' - what does this cover? 

Too wide definitions in law, without detailed explanation, can easily be abused by the government, prosecutors and police - so we really need some of these terms clarified, failing which our rights as citizens and people in Malaysia may be withered away...

Amended Penal Code covers print, electronic media

G Vinod | April 10, 2012
The changes would empower the authorities to detain anyone 'who go against parliamentary democracy'.

KUALA LUMPUR: The government tabled several amendments to the Penal Code that may stir the the ire of civil rights movements in the country.

In the bill tabled by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Abdul Aziz today, the government introduced new sections to the Penal Code, ranging from 124B to 124N to deal with offences that used to be dealt with under the Internal Security Act 1960 (Act 82) but with modifications.

The modifications would empower the authorities to take action not only against individuals but also the print and the electronic media practitioners.

Sections 124B and 124C state that anyone who is involved in an “activity detrimental to parliamentary democracy” can be imprisoned for a term that may extend to 20 years while those attempting to do so can be imprisoned up to 15 years.

However, the sections make no mention of what constitutes an offence under parliamentary democracy and who makes the decision on whether an individual has acted against the state.

Sections 124D and 125D of the bill state that anyone who prints, publicises, sells, issues, circulates, reproduces or possesses any document or publication detrimental to parliamentary democracy can be imprisoned for a term that may extend to 15 years.

Section 124H states that anyone who incites violence or disobedience to law, through publication or electronic media, can be punished up to five years.

Section 124I of the proposed amendment would allow the authorities to punish anyone who disseminates false information up to five years, be it via publication or electronic means.

The government is set to table the the Bill for a second reading next Monday.

When asked on the matter, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein refused to comment, saying it was premature to discuss the details of the amendments.- Free Malaysia Today, 10/4/2012, Amended Penal Code covers print, electronic media

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