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Malaysia's Evidence Act amendments: Guidelines for enterprises and employees

AvantiKumar | Aug. 17, 2012
As well as emphasising best practices, analyst firm Deloitte and ICT industry association PIKOM consider the potential impact of the Section 114A amendments on the national Digital Malaysia ICT plan.

 "Companies should not try to 'police' social media but should train their staff to recognise and inform when a potential reputational risk is occurring," he said. "You can also use your administrators to monitor the various platforms. If you are in a sensitive industry or concerned about your brand in the social media space, there are also organisations that can help monitor social media traffic similar to how companies track their brand in traditional media. The key for an organisation is not to try to control the conversation - you can't. It's better to listen, react and be sincere in how you respond to situations. That said, if someone is posting something that contravenes the law, then organisations will have to be ready to deal with this. It is also worth ensuring that any guidelines and rules for your various forums and pages are up-to-date and make clear to users what kind of behaviour is not tolerated."

"In terms of improving security on your platforms, you should look closely at who has access rights to post on the organisation's behalf and ensure that account passwords are sufficiently complex and changed regularly to ensure that they cannot be easily compromised," added Walton.

 Possible impact on local businesses and the Digital Malaysia plan

PIKOM's Shaifubahrim also commented on the possible impact to businesses and the impetus of the recently-announced national ICT plan, Digital Malaysia. "The success of the Malaysia's Internet startups, for example, depends on users who can create, find, and share content online. The popularity of social media sites also encourages corporations  to develop innovative and rewarding marketing strategies. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter are successfully used to  reach to their targeted market segments.  The country's continued economic growth, therefore, depends on initiatives that encourage rather than discourage participation on the Internet."

"Section 114 (A) dissuades user-driven production of Internet content," he said. "Since the amendments, the burden of proof on the owner of a webpage or device has fosters a climate of self-censorship that deters the dissemination of online  information. Consequently, the amendment impends the business model of both evolving and established businesses in Malaysia whose success hinges on Internet communities."

"Digital Malaysia is about getting the population connected to ICT and empowering government, businesses and citizens," said Deloitte's Walton. "However, the experience of recent years around the world has shown that empowerment in the online space is usually accompanied by, or stems from, relative freedom in use. If people feel that they are being monitored, then they may not be as willing to engage as freely."

"Although Section 114A should not affect the ability of businesses to communicate their corporate messages (which would almost certainly not contravene the law), it will affect how individuals engage with those businesses and perhaps make businesses more reluctant to have their forums be as open as they could be for fear of being held accountable for someone else's comments," he said. "It will be one more risk that companies have to consider when deciding which online platforms to engage in and how to approach them."


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