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Printing Presses and Publications Act (1948)

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Duke Fazmi

on 21 October 2013

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Transcript of Printing Presses and Publications Act (1948)

Printing Presses and Publications Act (1984)
Printing Presses and Publications Act (1984)
is a Malaysian statute governing publishing and the usage of printing presses in Malaysia
It replaced the Printing Presses Act 1948 and the Control of Imported Publications Act 1958 (Revised 1972)
All printing presses require a license granted by the Home Affairs Minister, renewed every year
Should one possess or use an unlicensed printing press, he may be imprisoned for up to three years and/or fined up to RM20,000. A deposit made under Section 10 of the Act will also be forfeited in such a case.
The Minister is given "absolute discretion" in the granting and revocation of licenses, and can also restrict or ban outright publications that are likely to endanger national security interest or create social unrest
first introduced by the British colonial government as the Printing Ordinance of 1948 at the beginning of the state of emergency, in order to counteract Communist activities seen as a threat to the establishment
The Ordinance was revised in 1971, after the race riots of 1969, and became the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA)
Additional power was given to revoke newspaper licenses that were seen to be aggravating national sensitivities or were considered detrimental to national development goals
Amid objections, the PPPA was amended in 1984. Again, more power was given to the government to seize or revoke a printing press or publication license.
This is the appeal case of Lim Guan Eng, who had been convicted for 18 months of imprisonment and fined under

Lim Guan Eng v Public Prosecutor(1998)
Minister of Home Affairs v Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara (1990)
This is an appeal case by the Ministry of Home Affairs against a High Court ruling by Harun J. quashing the Ministry’s rejection of a permit for publication. In November 1986, the Persatuan Aliran Kebangsaan (Aliran) applied for a permit to publish a Bahasa Malaysia version of their magazine, “Seruan Aliran” in addition to its English monthly publication Aliran Monthly. But their application was rejected without any given reason. In 1987 Aliran brought the matter to the High Court for a judicial review of the Minister’s “absolute discretion” in granting permit.
Implication of Printing and Publications Act in Malaysia
Section 3 of the Act gives the Internal Security Minister absolute discretion to grant a license and absolute discretion to refuse any application for a license
The license can be revoked or suspended at any time, and can be given for a limited period
In addition, the minister has absolute discretion to determine the fate of presses and publications, with decision not subject to judicial review
Under Section 13A, courts are instructed that they cannot question ministers’ decisions on any grounds whatsoever. The government also has wide powers of seizure over printing presses and publications.
1)S 8A (1) Printing Presses and the Public Act 1984 for maliciously publishing false news in the form of a pamphlet entitled ‘Mangsa Dipenjarakan’
2) S 4 (1) (b) Sedition Act 1948 for making a speech which contained seditious words regarding the non-prosecution of an alleged rape case involving Tan Sri Rahim Thamby Chik.
The question on the draft judgment which precluded the subsequent handing down of a judgment was disputed in court because the draft judgment was not considered as the actual judgment and so there was real likelihood of a miscarriage of justice.
The Act has been criticised for curtailing the freedom of speech in Malaysia, which is subject to any restriction Parliament may impose under Article 10 of the Constitution. In particular, it has been alleged that the Act "empowers the Minister to exercise virtually total control over the print media." This criticism was intensified after a 1987 amendment to the Act established an ouster clause preventing actions of the Home Affairs Minister from being called into question by the courts.
Despite this, High Court Justice Harun Hashim has asserted that the Home Affairs Minister's actions may be subjected to judicial review. In the case of Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara v. Minister of Home Affairs, Harun quashed the decision of the Minister to refuse Aliran, a reform group, permission to publish a Malay publication.
His decision was reversed on appeal in the Supreme Court, where Supreme Court Justice Ajaib Singh ruled that the amended section 12 of the Act did exclude actions of the Home Affairs Minister from judicial review.
2nd implications
The Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 (PPPA) empowers the Minister of Home Affairs in his absolute discretion to grant to any person a permit to print and publish a newspaper in Malaysia.
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