Hornbill Unleashed

August 9, 2016

Law shouldn’t punish ‘offensive’ communication, says Youth Parliament

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 9:00 PM

Members of the Youth Parliament today proposed that the phrase ‘offensive in character’ under Section 233 of the Communication and Multimedia Act 1988 be dropped and replaced.

Mohd Firdaus Ahmad, representative of the Technology and Innovation Committee, when tabling the proposal said the amendment was needed as the phrase was too general and could be misinterpreted.

“It gives a connotation that is too ambiguous, subjective and prejudicial on the use of social media,” he said during the second session of the Youth Parliamentary sitting, here, today.

Under Section 233 of the Act, it is an offence to initiate the transmission of any comment, request, suggestion or other communication which is obscene, indecent, false, menacing or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass another person.

Mohd Firdaus said, replacement of the phrase would not prevent the authorities from taking action on the offender as the existing laws were sufficient to control social media abuse.

In addition, Mohd Firdaus had also suggested that the punishment on the offenders be replaced with a more didactic one as the current RM50,000 fine and a year imprisonment were seen as too heavy.

Similarly, Pahang representative Mohd Firdaus Abdul Samad said the section of the Act did not deduce the meaning of the phrase in details.

“Each human being was born different in nature. Thus everyone might have different understanding on the phrase ‘offensive in character’,” he said.

In another development, the issue of Pokemon Go had also attracted the attention of the Youth Parliament members during the debate session.

Perak representative Nur Najihah Muhaimin disagreed with the idea of banning the application, as what mattered most was how an individual chose to use the application.

Selangor representative Mohamad Ridhwan Muhamad Rosli said although the application was entertaining, it had to be used moderately and it was only fair to not allow it among Muslims if it led to negligence to the extent of causing accidents.

The proposal to amend Section 233 of the Act was subsequently passed unanimously by the Youth Parliamentary sitting which was chaired by Deputy Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat Ronald Kiandee.

The sitting will end tomorrow with four proposals to be debated including the amendment of Section 233 of the Communication and Multimedia Act and the suggestion for the government to take a stand on defending the national sovereignty in the South China Sea.


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