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MALAYSIAN BAR TELLS PUTERAJAYA TO UPHOLD FREEDOM OF INFORMATION


The Malaysian Bar has urged Putrajaya to uphold the freedom of information, following the state Internet regulator's move to restrict access to websites that promote the Bersih 4 rally.
Its president, Steven Thiru, said the move was a misuse of regulatory powers by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) if it restricted access to websites that allegedly promote, spread information, and encourage the public to participate in the rally.
He said this was because MCMC's decision was following an earlier statement by the Home Affairs Ministry that “Bersih 4.0” was not 
a registered body.
  • "The stand taken by the ministry is misconceived.  There is no event or entity known as 'Bersih 4.0'.
  • "Bersih 4 is an event. The organiser of Bersih 4 is the entity known as Bersih 2.0, which the High Court – in the case of Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan and Ors against Menteri Dalam Negeri and Ors [2012] 7 CLJ 43 – recognised as a society under section 2 of the Societies Act 1966.
  • "Accordingly, the decision made by the ministry in relation to a non-existent event or an unknown entity (Bersih 4.0) is unjustifiable," Thiru said in a statement today.
  • He said it would follow that the reliance placed by MCMC on the "erroneous decision" of the ministry, was indefensible in law.
  • "It amounts to a misuse of the regulatory power reposed in MCMC under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA).
  • "In any event, MCMC’s attempt to block access to websites would go against section 3(3) of the CMA, which provides that 'nothing in this Act shall be construed as permitting the censorship of the Internet', as well as the MSC Malaysia Bill of Guarantees No. 7, which guarantees no censorship of the Internet."
  • Thiru added that the decision by MCMC also contradicted the statement by Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak on August 25 that the authority would not block access to any websites or social media platforms during the Bersih 4 rally.
  • "It is disappointing that the government has chosen to blow hot and cold in this matter," he said.
The 34-hour Bersih 4 rally begins today. It will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and other major cities in the world. Tens of thousands are expected to participate in the event.
The rally is held to call for electoral reform, a clean government,strengthening democracy, 
the  right  to   peaceful  assembly 
and to save the economy.

Source: The Malaysian Insider

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