Unbridled use of CMA violates Article 10 of Federal Constitution

For Immediate Release
27 May 2016

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) is appalled by the recent arrest of Masyhur Abdullah and strongly condemn the rampant use of Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA) against authors of online postings perceived as offensive.

Recalling the arrest and detention of Khalid Ismath, Wan Fatul Johari, Muhamad Isyraf Shamsuddin and many others, there is a clear trend of CMA being used in an impulsive manner against those perceived to have intended to annoy or cause hurt online. The trend where CMA has been increasingly used against members of publics is worrying and carries severe implication to freedom of expression in Malaysia.

Acknowledging the need to regulate online postings that can cause serious hurt or damage, SUARAM finds the current use of CMA to be excessive, ill-justified and does not meet the necessary threshold for state sanction. The use of laws that curbs freedom of expression must be stringently regulated and only used in the direst of circumstances. Of all of those mentioned, none of their online postings have shown any clear threat to security and does not have the capacity to cause any damage to those that was supposedly offended by the remarks made online.

The use of CMA in such a manner can only be described as excessive and must not be allowed to continue unabated. SUARAM reiterate our stance that freedom of expression must be protected and practiced so far as possible and can only be restricted in the direst of circumstances as recognized by United Nations. Failure to adhere to this would be a clear violation of the rights enshrined in Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.

In Solidarity,
Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director