See shares concern on SMA Bill, 2017

SEE Chee How (PKR-Batu Lintang) shares his concerns on the Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) Bill, 2017; whether it is appropriate and sufficient to accord constitutionality and legality of the establishment of the SMA to carry out the activities and to achieve the objectives enumerated in the SMA Bill.

“The minister had referred to Article 95B and the Ninth Schedule Legislative lists List IIA the Supplementary to State List for States of Sabah and Sarawak at

Item 14 with regards to the incorporation of authorities and other bodies set up by the state law, pointing out therefore that we are clothed with the power and authority.

“It is clear that we are at liberty to set up state authorities and bodies, but we must be cautious that this Bill is about the establishment of the SMA as an entity to be the authority in the state for communication and multimedia activities and for matters connected therewith,” he said when debating on the SMA Bill 2017 yesterday.

See who is state PKR vice-chairman said he shared the view of Chong Chieng Jen (DAP-Kota Sentosa) that the state has to look at the Federal Constitution, the Ninth Schedule Legislative lists List I – Federal List Item 10. Communications and transport, which includes, amongst others (g) Posts and telecommunications; and (h) Wireless, broadcasting and television.

In noting that jurisdiction over these sub-items are given to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), he said the MCMC’s authority to regulate the converging communications and multimedia industries and for incidental matters, under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 or

Act 588 and its numerous subsidiary legislation are applicable both within and outside Malaysia, under Section 4 of Act 588, described as ‘territorial and extraterritorial application’.

“Our Bill which proposes to establish the SMA as an entity to be the authority in the state for communication and multimedia activities and for matters connected therewith, is clearly heading into a collision course with Act 588 and its subsidiary.

“However, this Bill can still be proposed and passed if we are given the authority by Parliament to enact this SMA Ordinance under Article 76A of the Federal Constitution. Indeed, we have the grounds for demanding the authority to legislate this State Ordinance.”

See said under Chapter 3 of, and Annexure A to the Inter-Governmental Committee Report 1962, there were assurance that the following powers are reserved for Sarawak and Sabah, with regards those Items and Sub-Items listed in Legislative List I of the Federal List.

“For Item (g) Posts and telecommunications, it is specified that (firstly) there should be one Borneo Region for the purposes of posts and telecommunications and the Federal Estimates should provide for a regional director with headquarters in either Kuching or Jesselton and a deputy director in the state capital where the headquarters are not situated.

“(Secondly), the regional director should be granted direct access, through the permanent secretary, to the federation minister for posts and telecommunications until otherwise agreed. He should have administrative responsibility, subject to overriding ministerial responsibility, in those matters delegated to him, and in the execution of day-to-day affairs.

“(Thirdly), the regional director or his representative should sit on any existing or new Malaysian coordinating bodies whose work affects the region, with such other regional directors and representatives of other telecommunications interests as the minister deems appropriate.”

For Item (h) Wireless, broadcasting and television, See said it was specified that there should be a delegation of executive functions in each case on a state basis and secondly, the broadcasting service within the state should remain its local identity.

“We should therefore base on these assurances and act under Article VIII of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 requiring that these assurances be implemented. Until that authority is obtained, I am afraid that the good intention and labour in the enactment of this SMA Ordinance is an exercise in futility.”

See, therefore respectfully asked for the minister to refer this SMA Bill back to the State Attorney General’s Chambers for necessary amendments.

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