Muda urges govt to do away with Section 233 of CMA, says restricting people's voice won't solve problems
KUALA LUMPUR, March 13 — The Malaysia United Democratic Alliance (Muda) today urged the government to do away with Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act, which has been described as the 'Akta Sakit Hati' or 'Hurt Feelings Act', instead of increasing the penalty for offences under the law.
In a statement today, Muda secretary-general Amir Abdul Hadi said that the law which deals with the "Improper use of network facilities or network service" has been repeatedly criticised by politicians, activists and civil societies; including the Center for Independent Journalism (CIJ) and Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram).
"Expressing an opinion, and as long as it does not lead to an element of the crime, especially that which brings physical harm, should not be considered a crime with heavy punishment," said Amir.
He said that nearly 100 arrests and investigations were made under the Act last year including against activist Fahmi Reza, when the government was being run by Perikatan Nasional.
"The Madani Government of today, which is supported by a progressive coalition, should find a way to improve existing laws, instead of tightening or giving more power to a law, which among other things, has too broad a definition, with a fine of up to RM50,000.
"Restricting the voice of the people will not solve problems. The government should focus on education from an early age," he said.
Amir was responding to a Malaysiakini report that today quoted Deputy Communications and Digital Minister Teo Nie Ching as saying that her ministry is currently studying ways to better regulate social media, with one of the possibilities being to increase fines under the law in question.