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M'sian gov't assures Evidence Act amendments to be clarified

Publication Date : 21-08-2012


The Attorney-General of Malaysia has been asked to explain the controversial amendments to the Evidence Act.

Home Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the A-G would further explain why the amendment was made.

“If explained properly, I believe right-thinking people will know why the amendment was tabled in Parliament and approved.

“If there still are fears, laws can also be tweaked, amended and abolished, but don't get emotional about it,” he told reporters at the Cabinet's Hari Raya open house in Seri Perdana.

He was referring to Section 114A of the Evidence Act.

Hishammuddin also said he did not want discussions on the amendment to “override” the political transformation programme which has seen numerous security laws such as the Internal Security Act being reviewed or abolished.

“I don't want one particular issue to cloud the whole programme.

“There are many laws where the presumption is reversed (to the accused),” he said.

The amendment, gazetted and enforced last month, shifts the burden of proof and presumes publication and ownership of offending items posted on the Internet are made using a person's identity or device.

The Centre for Independent Journalism coordinated an Internet Blackout Day on August 14 as part of the Stop 114A campaign, which saw various bloggers and website operators putting up black banners and pop-ups to protest against the amendment.

This led to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak tweeting from Mecca several days ago that he has directed the Cabinet to discuss the amendment in their weekly meeting.

However, Information, Communications and Culture Minister Dr Rais Yatim said amendments to the Act would be maintained.


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