SANDAKAN September 16, 2012: Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk V K Liew said the recently amended provision of the Evidence Act contained in Section 114a becomes relevant in relation to the controversial article posted on a blog entitled “Tarian Sumazau Untuk Golongan Rendah Akhlak”.
The article has angered Sabahans and spurred outburst among the communities with Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joesph Pairin Kitingan urging the relevant authorities to unmask the article’s author who hides behind anonymity.
“This goes to show the relevancy of the Section 114a of the Evidence Act that was amended recently,” said Liew to reporters at KTS’ 50th anniversary celebration at the Yu Yuan Secondary School yesterday.
Responding to complaints by several netizens over the amended provision in the Act, Liew said, “the whole purpose of Section 114a is to go for people who hide behind anonymity and defame others.”
Liew said, the provision of Section 114a of the Act places a limitation on anonymity to ensure bloggers to be responsible over statements they make.
“The right to being anonymous does not confer any right to insult or defame people and I don’t think it is right to hide behind a screen name. That tantamounts to being a coward.
“If you want to attack the government, do it constructively.” said Liew.
He added that limitation is placed against freedom of speech in order to protect members of the public from being defamed and slandered.
“Freedom of speech does not give you the right to defame and insult others and if you do that, you are abusing that freedom,” said Liew.
Liew was visibly angered by the publication in Suara Pakatan’s blog on September 11 and said, “It’s extremely regrettable that there are people hiding behind screen names to defame and insult people and their culture.”
“Why would you want to attack KDM? The sumazau is a culture of the Kadazans, just like the lion dance is to the Chinese and joget to the Malays. These are our cultures,” he stressed.
He described the blogger’s action as malicious, adding that “these people did that just to incite discontentment among the communities.”
by Khabil Kiram