Wednesday 19 September 2012

A-G’s Evidence Act explanation shows Section 114A must be repealed, says DAP’s Gobind

September 19, 2012
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 — The Attorney-General’s explanation on the amended Section 114A of the Evidence Act 1950 provides all the more reason for the controversial law to be repealed, a DAP leader said today.

Referring to Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail’s statement yesterday that the prosecution was still responsible for carrying out a comprehensive investigation before making charges, Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo said the amendment still provided for a presumption.

“The A-G may want to assure us that it will not be abused by promising thorough investigations and so forth but that’s not the point,” Gobind (picture) said today in a press statement.

“If you can and are going to prove it, why have a presumption? Why reverse the burden and make it more difficult for the person?” he asked, pointing out the prosecution will now prove those exact facts which 114A seeks to presume to exist.

Yesterday, Abdul Gani had said no charge could be made against anyone, simply because that person’s name was linked to a published article.

He said it was imperative to firstly, prove the article was offensive in nature, and secondly, that it was written or published by the person concerned.

“This goes to show the objections advanced against Section 114A of the Act are justified,” Gobind said, reiterating that the prosecution has to prove those exact facts which the law seeks to presume to exist.

“Is it necessary to have a provision which presumes something which you are going to prove anyway?” he asked.

Last month, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) had urged Putrajaya to review or even repeal the new law that threatens to curb freedom of expression on the internet as it violates basic human rights principles.

Suhakam said the controversial section law violates the human rights principles of freedom of expression as enshrined in Article 19 of both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

The commission added that the newly-introduced provision, which came into force on July 31, 2012, also goes against a fundamental principle of law that a person is considered innocent until proven guilty as provided for under Article 11(1) of the UDHR.

However, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, said Section 114A of the Act would remain, to safeguard national security and public safety against violent or irresponsible acts.

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