KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 26 (Bernama) -- The government will draw up guidelines for three Acts related to information dissemination and Internet use to make it easier for the public to understand these laws.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz said the guidelines were for the Sedition Act 1948, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) Act 1998 and the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.
He said the proposal was agreed upon at the Strengthening Government Communication Strategy Committee meeting Wednesday and would be submitted to the Cabinet for approval.
"We have to be fast, hopefully (everything can be settled) before the end of February," he told a news conference after chairing the meeting at Parliament building, here Wednesday.
Also at the meeting were Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.
Nazri said the committee, with the cooperation of the Attorney-General's Chambers, would hold roadshows and public meetings in each state to explain the three laws, including on the gathering of evidence and cases that could face action.
He said the public including journalists and bloggers would be invited to the meetings. "It's important for them to know what they can and cannot do. They should be careful or they could be violating the law and have to face action."
Nazri denied that the move was to stifle freedom of expression in the country, but that the government was stern on issues that could threaten national security.
He said the guidelines were also relevant in view of the increasing popularity of the cyberworld.
"People have been talking about freedom of expression, freedom of the press. They think freedom of expression is everything, including the freedom to lie, to slander, to do anything, even to the extent of jeopardising the country's security.
"Security of the nation is paramount. No compromise on that," he said.
Nazri said so far, 217 cases had been reported to the MCMC on misuse of Internet content, 13 of which had been taken to court, six required further investigation, 23 imposed with fines for violating the conditions of the licence and 175 categorised under "no further action" (NFA).
According to the police commercial crime records, investigation papers were opened for 38 cases with 29 still under investigation, five charged in court and four categorised as NFA.
Nazri also disclosed that a meeting would be held on Feb 14 to decide whether plea bargaining would be implemented, while the guideline on this was being prepared by the A-G's Chambers with the cooperation of the courts and Malaysian Bar Council.
Plea bargaining is the negotiation between the defence and prosecution for the accused to choose to plead guilty for a reduced sentence or amended charge and not have to go through a court trial. It is aimed at reducing court case backlogs.