SHAH ALAM: A 46-year-old woman pleaded guilty to a charge of fraudulently acquiring content belonging to Measat Broadcast Network System Sdn Bhd by having six media boxes with the MyTV.apk application.
Ng Lee Lee was slapped with six charges at the Sessions Court here under the Communication and Multimedia Act 1998 before judge Muhamad Anas Mahadzir.
Muhamad Anas imposed a fine of RM5,000 for each charge and a month’s jail for each charge if she failed to pay the penalty.
According to the facts of the case, Ng, who is the director of a company called Little Yap Resources, was caught with the six media boxes – three iBoite-X and three i-Boite brands – in a raid on premises at Taman Putra Prima, Sepang on Dec 12.
Upon inspection of the boxes at the cyber and multimedia crime investigation unit at Bukit Aman on Dec 19 and 20 last year, it was confirmed that all six media boxes can air content from various channels owned by Measat Broadcast Network System Sdn Bhd’s Astro without having to pay the subscription fee.
The raid was conducted following a complaint made by a representive of Measat.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Syazwani Zawawi asked the court to impose a fine of RM30,000 for each of the six offences given that the maximum penalty under the charge was RM300,000 and three years' jail.
"This case is the first of its kind and there is a need to set a benchmark on the penalty imposed. It must also be taken into consideration that it involves the public interest of paying customers as well as the license and rights owners of the content," she said.
Muhamad Anas then asked Syazwani to explain how the case was of public interest as well as how it affected the general public.
Syazwani said that 4.7mil people were paying to subscribe to Astro while the media box, which will be sold for about RM300 to RM400 would provide the same content for free.
“It also impacts the economy as taxes are paid to the government but when it is not legal and free, there is a loss of those (taxes)," she added.
However, Muhamad Anas did not agree with her contention that the case involved a matter of public interest.
“Astro is not the public and Astro has every right to take personal action against her (Ng)," he said.
In response, Ng’s defence counsel Low Li Qun asked the court to impose a fine of RM1,000 for each charge and said that her client has three children and also supported her aged parents and parents-in-law.
When asked to make her plea, Ng said the authorities had seized 55 media boxes from her premises but only six had the MyTV.apk application.
“Normally we only sell empty hardware but that day the customer asked us to do this (install the application in the media boxes)," she said.
Ng also said she was aware that she had committed an offence but added she had to earn a living as her business had dropped by 80% due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
She also apologized to the court and said she will not repeat the offence.
When delivering his judgement, Muhamad Anas said the crime committed by Ng was happening widely and was a form of piracy to achieve easy profits from the hard work of others.
He said it was a very serious offence even though it may appear to be otherwise.
“I believe the box for streaming is a one-off buy and if you want to upgrade you do it once a year. All content and channels are free and so it is piracy, ’’ said Muhamad Anas.
He also said the government had put in the necessary measures to fight piracy.
After the proceedings, Low said Ng will be paying the fine and was waiting for the court to issue the documents needed to make payment.
Koh Shueh Jing from legal firm Wong & Partners held a watching brief for Measat Broadcast Network System Sdn Bhd.