CMA will be amended, assures Gobind

Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo has assured that the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998 will be amended to tighten some of the legal provisions which are seen to be very broad.

He said the CMA extended beyond the Sections 233 and 211 as it dealt with many other issues.

“It is a piece of legislation which basically deals with the existence of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), regulatory frameworks, telcos and so forth.

“So if you talk about repealing the whole act, then I think that’s something that’s not attainable at this particular time,” he said in an interview with BFM Radio here today.

Section 233 deals with the improper use of network facilities or network services, while Section 211 prohibits the publication of offensive content on the internet.

Gobind said the public must understand that there were two parts in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) manifesto regarding legal abolition and amendments to legislation.

“One is about legislation that needs to be repealed and the other is legislation that needs to be amended.

“The move to amend Section 233 is to avoid abuse and this is in line with the PH pledge as stated in our manifesto,” he said, adding that it was also to do away with elements which were draconian in nature.

In the past, he said, many had complained that Section 233 was used primarily on opposition members, some of whom were now part of the government.

“So what we see is a scenario whereby you have a provision which is very broad, and because it is so broad it can be easily used against almost anyone.

“I think what we need to do is look at (Section) 233 and discuss how we can tighten these provisions to ensure there is no political persecution or abuse, and to ensure that there is fairness and that ultimately, the objective of that provision is carried out, which is to regulate multimedia fairly.”

Gobind also said regulators such as MCMC must be neutral in order to function effectively. This could start by ending the practice of using political appointees to head such organisations, he added.

“With the previous Barisan Nasional regime, we had a situation where political appointees had a hand in certain things such as formulating policies. Political appointees in institutions such as MCMC should be removed,” he said.