Law enforcement agents can be given the power to tap into a phone line if it has relevant information regarding an investigation or a offence.
Citing the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, Minister of Information, Communications and Culture Rais Yatim said that unless this power was given, no one in his ministry was allowed to perform such a tap.
“Section 252 of the Act gives power to a public prosecutor to allow law enforcement and investigative agents to perform a lawful interception on the condition that these communications might contain relevant information for the purpose of an investigation or offence under the Act of under a subsidiary legislation.
“The ministry’s jurisdiction in carrying out lawful communication interception for enforcement and investigation purposes is subject only to the power provided under the Act… it can only be performed with the permission and power of the public prosecutor,” he said.
Rais said this in a parliamentary written response to Bukit Bendera MP (DAP) Liew Chin Tong, who wanted to know what laws allowed the authorities to tap phone lines and emails.
He also asked the minister to list the number of interception cases from 1998 until now, and for it to be divided by criminal suspects, politicians and foreigners.
In his reply, the minister did not answer this query.
However, the minister said that other acts allowed for communication interception to take place.
He listed them down as:
- Kidnapping Act 1961, under the Home Ministry (KDN).
- Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 and Dangerous Drugs (Forfeiture of Property) Act 1988, under the National Anti-Drug Agency and KDN.
- Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009.
- Strategic Trade Act 2010, under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI).