DAP Parliamentary Working Group on Cyberbills to consider whether there should be amendments to the first batch of cyberbills so that Malaysia can have the best cyberlaws in the world

Media Conference Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): The DAP has formed a Parliamentary Working Group to consider amendments which should be presented to the first batch of cyberbills in the current meeting of Parliament.

The four cyberbills have been assigned to four DAP MPs, who will initiate discussions with various interest groups, whether the industry, academicians, NGOs, consumers, computer users including students and other concerned Malaysians and to invite their views and ideas on how Malaysia can have the best cyberlaws in the world.

The assignment of the cyberbills to DAP MPs is as follows: Computer Crimes Bill (Karpal Singh - MP for Jelutong), Digital Signature Bill (Lim Guan Eng - MP for Kota Melaka), Telemedicine Bill ( Dr. Tan Seng Giaw - MP for Kepong) and Copyright (Amendment) Bill (Tan Kok Wai - Cheras).

The series of DAP Cyberbill Seminars, which was launched in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, would provide the DAP Parliamentary Working Group on Cyberbills the opportunity to hear public views as to their areas of concern with the country taking the plunge into the Information Technology revolution and in particular, whether the proposed cyberlaws are adequate or excessive.

There will be another four DAP Cyberbill Seminars in the series, namely:

Another series, in Mandarin, on how IT can affect the quality of everyday life of Malaysians as well as on the cyberbills, would also be held, starting in Klang tonight, Teluk Intan tomorrow, April 18th, Seremban on April 23rd and Kuala Lumpur on May 4.

This is the DAP contribution to the development of an Information Society - to increase public participation and raise IT-consciousness among the people.

Information Ministry must overhaul its pre-IT mentality to keep abreast with the changes in the Information Technology revolution

The Information Ministry is one of the most important ministries if Malaysia is to succeed in making the quantum leap into the Information Age. However, the Information Ministry is still in the pre-IT mode and must overhaul its pre-IT mentality to keep abreast with changes in the Information Technology revolution.

The Information Ministry must be more open to ideas and not operate as a closed system.

Two Sundays ago, TV2ís "Global" programme had a panel discussing the cyberbills which had been presented to Parliament. I was very impressed as this shows that the RTM is in tune with current developments. Unfortunately, I heard about the programme only later and I did not get to watch it.

Subsequently, the Parliamentary Opposition Leaderís Office tried to contact RTM to arrange for me and other MPs interested in the Global programme on cyberbills to have a viewing of the recording, but for the whole of last week, my secretary was shunted from pillar to post as if we were asking access to the most innermost secrets with great bearing on the security of the state - and we got nowhere.

I finally spoke to the Deputy Information Minister, Datuk Drs. Suleiman bin Mohamad in Parliament House on Monday, and he promised to arrange for a viewing in two days. But I have not heard anything from him since.

Why this secrecy about the TV2 Global programme on cyberbills which had already been telecast? RTM should feel proud that there are MPs who are interested enough to want to ask for a viewing of its Global recording - but it is behaving as if it is ashamed of the programme and want to hide it away!

This is a pre-IT mentality which the Information Ministry must shake out quick and fast if it is not to be a hindrance to Malaysiaís efforts to make the transition to the Information Era. Otherwise, it would be more apt to be calld the Pre-IT Information Ministry!


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong