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Wednesday October 23, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Wednesday October 23, 2013 MYT 7:55:25 AM
THE Dewan Rakyat passed amendments to the Penal Code, with two clauses – pertaining to insulting the national flag and vandalism – being withdrawn.
Both clauses, 5 and 33, were deemed better covered under other laws like the proposed National Harmony Act.
The Penal Code Bill, which sees new laws and enhanced penalties for certain crimes, was passed at 8.20pm yesterday after two days of heated debate.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri said the laws were passed in view of national security and public interest, including protecting victims of crime.
“Please don’t reject the law. Give it a chance. Besides, we have already dropped two provisions,” she said.
The new laws pertain to gang rape, criminal force against a spouse, the use of unrecognised honorary titles, increased penalties for repeat offenders, interception of communication, protection of witness identity, rewarding acts of courage against crimes and use of electronic monitoring devices.
During a debate on the amendments allowing for harsher penalties for rape and gang rape, G. Manivannan (PKR-Kapar) suggested a mechanism to consider the interests of both the victim and perpetrator.
Nancy said the Government decided that the interests of the victim, society and nation were more important than that of the criminal.
A lengthy debate also ensued over Clause 11, which prohibits a person from revealing information obtained in their professional capacity, with a RM1mil fine and/or a year of jail term.
Tian Chua (PKR-Batu) also questioned if journalists who report news based on information obtained from government officials would be deemed to have committed an offence.
An exasperated Nancy responded with “don’t insult my intelligence” and proceeded to explain that the clause should be read together with other provisions that set the exceptions and limitations for the clause.
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