Govt considers drafting contempt of court law

THE government is looking into drafting a special law similar to Singapore’s Administration of Justice (Protection) Act 2016 to deal with cases related to contempt of court.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) was conducting a study by comparing several legislations in some countries such as the United Kingdom, Singapore and India.

“The government will also get input from stakeholders related to the matter. Actually, the AGC has been looking into this since 2010.

“In 2013, a draft Bill was completed and referred to the judiciary and they provided good feedback, ” he said in reply to Datuk Liew Vui Keong (Warisan-Batu Sapi) during Question Time yesterday.

Liew had asked if the government intended to introduce a special law such as the one in Singapore to better deal with the rising number of contempt cases, especially on social media.

Takiyuddin said in 2016, the draft Bill was in the verification stage at the AGC but a year before that, the Home Ministry made amendments to the Sedition Act.

“The amendments included matters relating to contempt of court, as such the Bill (that was drafted) needed to be studied again to streamline with the amendments to the Sedition Act, ” the minister pointed out.

He said currently, there were no specific laws to deal with contempt of court but the judiciary was guided by the principles of Common Law and the Federal Constitution.

To a supplementary question by Liew, Takiyuddin said he had no qualms if he was called up by the police over a controversial tweet he allegedly wrote when former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was sentenced.

Liew had said that contempt of court had become a “new normal” under the Perikatan Nasional administration.

“We can see leaders in Twitter, saying things over the conviction of a parliamentarian. In the Twitter statement, we can see the minister from the other side, together with the Environment and Water Minister (Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man) and the special envoy to the Middle East (Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang).

“I would like to know if the minister’s statement contradicts the principle of law and are rules different for ministers and others?” asked Liew, who then read out the tweet allegedly written by Takiyuddin.

Takiyuddin said he was not sure which remark Liew was referring to. He said several PAS leaders and himself visited Najib’s residence but said that was not new.

“I am not sure which tweet is being referred to, whether it is my tweet or the tweet of other parties.

“As a law practitioner, I am subjected to the law.

“If I have done anything wrong and am subjected to a particular law and the police calls me, I am prepared to go to the police station to offer an explanation, ” he said.

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