KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 4 2018 : The Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA) 1998 will be amended and not repealed for now, said Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo.
He said the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government could not repeal the CMA for now even though it promised in its 14th General Election (GE14) manifesto to remove laws deemed a threat to free speech.
“CMA deals with a lot of regulatory frameworks…so to repeal it (CMA) now is unattainable. However, certain sections such as Section 233 and 211 of the Act, could be discussed whether to be repealed or not,” he said in an interview with BFM Radio, here, today.
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.
“The amendments to the provisions in the law will also partly to ensure that there will not be political persecution, PH government made good its electoral promise to repeal the Anti-Fake News Act 2018 in Parliament last month.
“The law had been hastily approved by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government despite protests earlier this year and took force on April 2, just before the May 9, GE14,” he said.
Gobind said regulators such as the Malaysian Communications And Multimedia Commission (MCMC) must be made neutral in order to function effectively starting by ending the practice of using political appointees to head such organisations.
“In the BN regime before, we have a situation where the political appointees set on how certain things are done such as formulating policies. Political appointees in institutions such as MCMC should be removed,” he said.
He was commenting on question posed to him on former MCMC chief executive Datuk Mazlan Ismail who challenged PKR president elect Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in Permatang Pauh in the 2013 general election under the BN banner.
Mazlan, along with MCMC chairman Tan Sri Dr Halim Shafie and two others senior officials resigned on July 1 amid a purge of political appointees installed by the previous BN administration.
The Communications and Multimedia Ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Dr Mohd Ali Mohamad Nor is serving as the interim chairman of MCMC until a replacement candidate is found. – Bernama