The Laws and Reality on Disinformation, Propaganda and GE14.

Like it or not we have a democratically elected government (otherwise no point for having politicians from both side to contest in an election).  As we are facing the 14th General Election, one can reasonably expect to be fed with all sorts of information be it real or fake. Generally we read or watch and believe what is in the mainstream or social medias. Expect a lot of cliches, but when it comes to a lie-filled media, if you/they are not part of the solution, then you/they are truly part of the problem.

Politicians and candidates (maybe not the expired ones) refer to methods which essentially include:

– Cross-linking patterns between media sources offer a view of authority and prominence within the media world.

– The sharing of media sources by users on Whatsapp, Instagram, Wechat, Twitter and Facebook provides a broader perspective on the role and influence of media sources among people engaged in politics through their laptops or handphones.

– The differential media sharing patterns of BN or PH supporters on the social medias enable a detailed analysis of the role of partisanship in the formation and function of media structures.

– Content analysis using automated tools supports the tracking of topics over time among media sources; some call it the big data to strategise their respective winning formula. Qualitative media analysis of individual case studies enhances our understanding of media function and structure.  Some use it to distract or exploit or politicise an issue from the data for own political gain.

The above methods serve no purpose or will be in futile if the information is biased, misinformed or fake.   Above all what the people or the politicians are concern most is reliability of the information or news received, read and heard. Some have used such information as a weapon for millennia, to boost their support and quash dissidence. The word “fake news’ is hardly a term before GE12 but now some see it as one of the greatest threat to democracy, free debate and political maturity.

Ideally journalist, reporter, keyboard warrior, cybertrooper, blogger or politician are responsible to play a role to tackle false or fake news, in disseminating information and to correct any negative perceptions.  But it is unlikely due to partisanship.

In Malaysia the relevant laws include Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission Act 1998 and Sedition Act 1948 (perhaps Defamation Act 1957 for civil suit) are there for the authorities to monitor and take action against offences relating to online or social medias.  Personally I do not think these legislation offer adequate protection or are sufficient to combat and prevent irresponsible parties to spread slanderous, malicious, fake and seditious information/news.

These laws may need to be amended to criminalising what could be classed an innocent but silly behaviour, such as belligerent posts on FB, Twitter, Whatsapp, WeChat and Instagram.  Equally it does not go far enough so as to offer any protection against the publication of false stories.  Fake news will only fall under the remit of this act if it is grossly offensive; any misinformation which is not offensive but is simply untrue will slip through the net.

However there is an inherent risk of infringing freedom of speech and the freedom of the press if new laws are introduced, but this must be balanced against the ease with which information/news can be published.   Some also argued that any fight against the offensive or fake news is a  pretext to censorship or a propanganda.  Some suggested to follow what the China’s government did as to ban FB, Google and Whatsapp in the country.

One may argue that the rakyats today are no more so foolish or innocence to believe whatever they read or see but regrettably some are.  As technology advances, the law must adapt to ensure that it provides an adequate remedy for victims of defamatory allegations, fake news and hoaxes, whether or not these stories are offensive, with the intention to bring down a democratically-elected government or have caused serious harm or financial loss.

The more immediate challenge lies within the availability of resources to effectively monitor publishers of misinformation, and to provide an effective deterrent against the fake news stories which have been increasingly circulated throughout the last couple of years.

At the end of the day, sometimes there can be a little truth of fake news.  Hence as I always tell my family and friends:  “Dont believe it blindly, verify please!”

 

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All out to fight corruption!

Despite the new Malaysia ruled under the Pakatan Harapan government, the practice or perception of corruption is still on the rise.

Both the government and public must have the will to curb corruption. Public awareness and education is required in order to understand the need to do so for the betterment of our future generation. We cannot go far if this scourge of corruption is not to be dealt seriously.

Anti-corruption initiatives where Gerakan, in partnership with government and private sector, raise awareness and works not only to combat corruption, but to build integrity, have a higher success rate in terms of systematic designing out corruption.

We know the government machinery, especially the police and local authorities are the most common bodies to be bribed. Small and medium-sized enterprises are paying off local officials to expedite business procedures. It happens everyday in all walks of our lives.

As such, I will push for a special task force or bureau in Parti Gerakan to fight corruption at all levels. This is so with the new leadership after the party election next month.

Gerakan can play a major role if we are brave to act and be the eyes and ears of the MACC.  For a start, I will form a team to monitor loanshark activities, police blocks and handle public complains. In the event of any threat, we should not be afraid of the underworld societies or police in all our actions.

Strengthening legal systems is also crucial and Gerakan can advocate for clearer and stronger anti-corruption laws by working with the government or MACC to combat corruption.

Simply No Political Will To Abolish The Sedition Act

I condemn the Malaysian government’s increased use of the Sedition Act 1948 (after GE14) to stifle freedom of expression and silence voices perceived as challenging governmental policy or leaders.
Prime Minister’s remarks on the Act speak for itself today.
The call to abolish the Act is not something new, for many years PH government had been condemning it too.
Draconian laws must be repealed as promised by the PH government, it must be given a priority.  Do not be like the previous BN government.
Over the past few months there has been an increase in the number of sedition arrests by authorities in what seems like a clear crackdown against freedom of expression in Malaysia.
So far, I see no steps towards fulfilling this promise. In fact, we now see vigorous use of this outdated and odious law.
Laws that criminalize free expression have no place in a modern Malaysia, and are incompatible with international human rights standards.
The Malaysian government should immediately drop these charges and get rid of this law.
The 1948 Sedition Act, originally enacted by the British colonial government and amended several times over the years, criminalizes speech and publications considered to have “seditious tendencies”.
The term “seditious tendencies” is ambiguously defined to mean any kind of speech or publication that causes “hatred or contempt, or excite disaffection” against any ruler or the government or promotes “ill will and hostility between the different races or classes”. The law also considers “seditious” any speech or publication that questions the special privileges of the Malay people, as provided in the Constitution.
Furthermore, sedition is a strict liability offence in Malaysia, which means that the intention of a person allegedly making seditious statements is irrelevant. For instance, a person making a statement may not have the intent to cause “hatred or contempt” towards the government, but may nonetheless be held liable for sedition if authorities believe that the person in fact incited such feelings.
I aver that the Act, by its very terms, contemplates restrictions on the exercise of freedom of expression that are grossly overbroad and inconsistent with basic rule of law and human rights principles.  And there is no requirement of 2/3 majority in order to amend the Act. Or at the very least stop using the law to investigate or arrest those who are courageous to speak up.

Unplug the cctv camera!

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警察可以停用你的闭路电视摄像机吗?

Let’s say one day the police raided your house/office and took you into custody. They didn’t find anything and released you. When you arrived back at house you found that they had disabled every single one of your security cameras (CCTV) – i.e. removed or deactivated each one from the socket. They were simply mounted on the wall, so they obviously weren’t obscuring anything. They were disabled the second they went in your house or when you was taken away. Is that allowed?

The laws are silent on this. So one may say it is the authority’s right to have such practice to unplug or turn away the CCTV camera during a raid or operation especially in private premises. Question is why do they want to do so? The answer is quite obvious.

Apparently this is the modus operandi or SOP by most of the enforcement agencies in Malaysia such as PDRM, MACC, KPDNKK etc.

To me deactivation of CCTV cameras would introduce “vulnerabilities” to counter their mishandlings or wrongdoings (if any) and deny justice to the people or victim of harrassment, intimidation, violence, sexual offences etc.

Every day we see the media, lawyers and police are handed public and private CCTV footage, along with recordings from mobile phones. These usually contain displays of grossly inappropriate and often illegal behaviour of an offence. People provide the data for any number of reasons, including to report corruption, to defend themselves or simply to embarrass malefactors.

The recording can be very useful in solving serious crimes as well.

I hope the government would look into the laws to rectify the same.

It is a citizen’s right to operate a CCTV surveillance camera in his or her own premises. So no government officials, including law enforcement officers, in the discharge of their duties should be allowed to deactivate it.

3 Newly-Appointed Top Judges are to retire soon?

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I welcome and congratulate the recent appointment of the Chief Justice, President of the Court of Appeal and Chief Judge of Malaya. But considering their respective age of 66, 65 and 65 are they about to retire too?

Therefore there is an urgency of amending the Judges retirement age.

I urge the present government to give priority and table a bill to amend matters pertaining to the retirement age of the judges at the current parliament sitting.

There is an urgency in this matter for two reasons: firstly due to the legal debate over the validity of previous appointment and resignation of Raus Sharif as the Chief Justice and Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin as the President of the Court of Appeal respectively, there is a need to a finality.  Though there is a related ongoing suit at the Federal Court which is yet to be decided, there is a concern it may be rendered academic.

Secondly considering the recent appointments of the 3 top posts namely the Chief Justice, President of the Court of Appeal and Chief Judge of Malaya, one would realised that these 3 top judges are also approaching the age of retirement.

In Malaysia, under Article 125(1) of the Federal Constitution, superior court judges enjoy the terms of service to retire at the age of 66 years and can be extended by six month by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.  This is an archaic provision and should be amended accordingly.

Hence the approximate tenure of a year or less will be clearly insufficient for them to achieve anything positively for the judiciary.  By allowing the amendment to increase the retirement age would also allow a smooth transition in the future.  In addition it is also to protect the judiciary from any political criticism and possible constitutional crisis.

I am aware for such amendment, the Parliament require a two third majority, hence the current MPs should vote according to their conscience if such amendment is to be tabled.

Say NO to arrest first, investigate later!

#NOto先抓後來調查.
#NOtoKasiLokapDulu

How often did we hear or experience that our polis do “arrest first, investigate later”? I sudah biasa… It even happened to me prior to my legal practice.

Some of the polis are fond of using such method to intimidate the rakyats. This is so when the complainant is a friend or has bribed them in one way or another.

Of course if someone committed an apparent crime on the spot, that will be a different story.

Recent arrest of Siti Kassim is another example. It is reported PDRM claimed that their action was based on law and their SOP. To me this really brings back the need to form Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

Many PH leaders proposed to have such independent body to monitor such abuse of power or misconduct by the polis during BN administration. I had also pushed for the same previously.

Polis must be held accountable for their action.

The rakyats should not be afraid of any rogue police personnel especially when they did nothing wrong.

Therefore it is high time for the current government to establish this body.

Crimes that BN government failed to tackle effectively

Part2 –

SMUGGLING OF FIREARMS

A nationwide spike in shooting incidents signals a worrying trend.

Recently again we read or heard about two shooting incidents: one in Penang and a gun-armed robbery in Johor. This is not something new. Some of us are aware that it is not hard to hire a hitman or purchase/rent a gun in Malaysia. Armed banditry and criminal violence is something that the previous government failed to tackle effectively. It doesnt takes a rocket scientist to know what is the cause of it and how the criminals obtained such firearms. Simply put it is due to corruption and ineffective enforcement (especially at the border of Thailand) to stop smuggling of the firearms.

Typically, the individuals who use firearms to commit violent crimes are not the initial lawful purchasers, but have instead obtained firearms through an illicit (black) market (be it from Thailand or Indonesia or within Malaysia).

There are two Acts that control possession of guns: The Arms Act (1960) and The Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act (1971). It is relatively well regulated.

Therefore it is important to trace the source of crime guns. Routine tracing of firearms recovered from criminals is key to the effective enforcement. Those trace data can be used by law enforcement to identify dealers who sell or supply a disproportionate number of crime guns. These people can then be subjected to heightened scrutiny. Individual traffickers can also be identified through trace data.

It is also equally important to identify the points along the border used by syndicates to smuggle in guns. This can be found at the Thai or Kalimantan border and not forgetting the southern side where boats are coming from Indonesia.

Our enforcement authorities need to be more effective to curb gun smuggling. So are strict policies to be implemented to enhance accountability and thereby prevent violent injury and death and more importantly to live in a safe and peaceful country.

New Beginning for Malaysia

Part 1: Change that is unlikely to happen if BN continue to rule –

EDUCATION SYSTEM.

Education is important for a country to grow, in fact it is the most important criteria. Whether it is economically or socially, education plays a vital role in the growth of these two important factors.

Now the government has re-established a single ministry. Kudos to that, no more bureaucracy.

Next we need to understand that education must be secular and free from political and religious interference. There should be academic freedom such as students’ self-government and return of universities autonomy (to revisit UUCA).

They should re-look at the quota system or make university enrolment or award public scholarship more meritocratic.

Same goes to the employment and promotion of academicians.

Once the above is achieved, vernacular schools must consider an under one roof system in order to promote national integration.

VOTE WISELY IN GE14

Keep-calm-and-vote-wisely-11

Jangan mudah percaya. Jangan mudah diperbodohkan. Dont be easily manipulated. Dalam hari dan minggu yang akan datang, kita akan terima pelbagai dan banyak video, mesej & gambar bagi tujuan menarik undi.

I reiterate, in days to come we will receive more and more of fake, hatred & provoking videos and messages etc. All they want is to create hatred. Shout and jeer at ceramah. Our social medias will be flooded with negative and unsubstantiated information. Yes it may be enjoyable to watch or hear but they should really talk about the welfare of the people and betterment of the nation with real facts. Dont get me wrong, I am not referring to a specific party, any political party would do the above.

Therefore vote wisely. Vote for the right candidate and not blindly for the party. Make our own evaluation, research and think rationally.  Thank you.

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