By Ida Lim
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 11 ― Deputy Minister of Higher Education Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah today said he supports repealing the controversial Section 114A of the Evidence Act 1950, widely seen as an attempt to curb Internet freedom, despite the clause only being four months old.
The amendment to the Evidence Act, which was passed in Parliament on April 18 after it was first tabled on April 10, is now in force after it was gazetted on July 31.
“I am all for repealing Section 114A,” Saifuddin told reporters today, saying that there should be an alternative to the legal clause.
Earlier, the Umno supreme council member had spoken at a public forum on whether Section 114A signals the end of internet freedom.
“As a Barisan Nasional guy who supports democratic reforms and... a mature democracy, I take this as a hiccup,” he said.
The other forum panellists were lawyers Faisal Moideen, Foong Cheng Leong and K. Shanmuga.
The forum was jointly organised by the Bar Council’s National Young Lawyers Committee (NYLC), Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights (MCCHR) and the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ).
Among others, Section 114A imposes a presumption that an administrator of a website or an owner of a computer is the publisher of the contents unless it can be proven otherwise.
Proof of the publication of content or statements is important for court cases involving defamation or the soon-to-be repealed Sedition Act.
CIJ has slammed the clause for presuming guilt instead of innocence and for making service providers liable for hosting content published by others.
MORE TO COME