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KL Bar IT Law Forum - 12 November 2010

About four days before the Forum, KLBC received a letter from the Minister of Information Communications and Culture that he could not attend to officiate at the IT Law Forum after having accepted the invitation earlier on. Thankfully, the Deputy Minister, Dato’ Maglin Dennis D’Cruz graciously agreed to attend on behalf of the Minister and opened the Forum.

The Deputy Minister gave a resounding speech, confirming that the Government of Malaysia is committed to transparency and Freedom of Speech on the Internet; but called for users to the responsible when using the same.

About 100 people attended the Opening ceremony, held at the KDU Law School at their new 2nd campus at Section 13, Petaling Jaya. With KDU recently upgraded to University College status, having the Forum there seemed apt, for the discussion that went on at the Forum was truly educational and informative.

Three speakers spoke on the Censorship on Malaysian Internet and all three of them spoke against censorship; though Mr Jagdish Singh of the Internet Society did promote internet censorship to protect certain segment of society such as young Children. Mr Steven Gan of Malaysiakini gave a resounding speech from a Journalist’s point of view and impressed upon the delegates that Internet Censorship should not exist in Malaysia. Mr HR Dipendra, a lawyer but speaking in his capacity as part of the international Media Defence Group articulated his point for a non-censored internet to allow the Media on the Net to flourish.

The 2nd Session saw two heavyweights in Data Protection Law in the form of Professor Abu Bakar Munir of University Malaya and Professor Sonny Zulhuda of International Islamic University of Malaysia. They spoke on the recently passed Personal Data Protection Act 2010, currently waiting to be in operation. The two Professors shared many intricate and delicate views on the matter. Professor Abu Bakar Munir, in particular, had inside knowledge of the Act, as he was in fact part of the team who drafted the Act.Many delegates posed interesting and sometimes difficult questions to the two Professors. The replies from the Academicians were extremely helpful and clarified many anomalies of the Act.

After the lunch break; the Forum saw three giants on Social Media speaking. Representing Nuffnang was Mr Nicholas Chay whilst DiGi sent their Head of Online, Mr Azizi Jennis. The trio was completed by the famous Blogger Mr Niki Cheong.They spoke candidly of the growth of Social Media and how far Social Media may grow in Malaysia. All three of them appeared to take the view that Social Media will be a major player in the dissemination of information in future. There were also survey results which indicated that people seems to trust what is written on famous blogs more than what the advertisement says. This may suggest that the trend of advertisement in the future may vary on the Internet.

The Forum came to a close at 4.00 p.m. It was highly successful with the IT Committee of the KL Bar already receiving many requests for more of such Forums to be organised.