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Ecommerce Law in Malaysia

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INTRODUCTION. At the turn of the millennium, one would be hard-pressed to find a competitive and thriving organisation that does not rely upon communications and other information technologies as an enabler of its activities. The technology has provide its purpose to improve our lives at work and at home. However, it also creates immense new risks. The complexity of modern way of communication and transfer of data have indirectly contribute to the widespread opportunities for theft, fraud, and other forms of exploitation by offenders both outside and inside an organisation. With the growth of e-commerce, internal and external perpetrators can exploit traditional vulnerabilities in seconds. They can also take advantage of new weaknesses in the software and hardware architectures that now form the backbone of most organisations including the Government. Hence, in order to protect the security of user in communication and multimedia industry, the Malaysia Government have enforce several Acts and regulatory framework. All the regulatory frameworks will be discuss further in this report.
DISCUSSION.
Malaysia was one of the earliest countries to introduce a specific set of laws covering the Internet. These laws known as Cyber Laws which enacted in 1997. The government include the Computer Crimes Act 1997, the Digital Signature Act 1997, and the Telemedicine Act 1997 in Cyber Laws. The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 or CMA was also enacted as the regulatory arm for the Ministry of Energy, Communications and Multimedia namely, the Communications and Multimedia Commission in 1998. This Commission purpose was to regulate communications and multimedia activities. The CMA provides for a regulatory framework to enhance the rapid growth of the communication and multimedia industry in Malaysia. The CMA also had been enacted to replace previous regulatory such as Broadcasting Act 1988 and the Telecommunications Act of 1950, which were repealed in 1999.
In February 2001, the Communications and Multimedia Consumer Forum of Malaysia (CfM) was established in order to conduct the requirements of the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA), 1998, Section 190. CfM is registered with the Registrar of Societies of Malaysia and it is an independent body comprising institutional members from the industry and civic groups as well as individual members. The Consumer Forum is entrusted to formulate codes for improvement regarding customer and consumer service in the communications and multimedia industry.
The first code which was registered in September 2003 is “The General Consumer Code of Practice for Communications and Multimedia” (GCC), and the Internet Access Service Providers Consumer Code of Practice is in its draft stage. Initially, these codes are a trial for self-regulation and were drawn up based on input from both the industry and the consumer groups. Draft copies were also promoted at road shows around the country in the major cities and towns to gain feedback from the public. However, feedback from the public was minimal. Perhaps, the public needs to be educated first on the issues and relevant concerns to encourage greater and more valuable participation from them in the self-regulation process. There were suggestions that they could not understand implications of the Codes on them as often these can be indirect. However, no specific code related to e-commerce has been drawn up and the Forum’s role in this aspect is undetermined and yet to be tested.

As stated earlier, several cyber laws were enacted by the Malaysian regulatory agency for the communications and multimedia industry. The government has contributed to provide a wide range of regulatory framework of cyber laws and intellectual property laws to facilitate and enhance the development of e-commerce in Malaysia. In accordance to this requirement, the Government has enacted laws such as the Digital Signature Act 1997, which provides an avenue for secure online transactions through the use of digital signatures; the Computer Crimes Act 1997; Personal Data Protection Act 2010; Electronic Government Activities Act 2007; and electronic Commerce Act 2006. a) Digital Signature Act 1997
This act was registered on October 1st, 1998 which generally applicable to all communications. This act establishes the legal validity, enforceability and admissibility of digital signatures. It recognizes repositories and authorizes the Minister to appoint the Controller of Certification Authorities. Additionally, the act regulate the functions of certification authorities, the general requirements for a licensed certification authority, and the application procedures to become a licensed certification authority. This act also subjects the licensed certification authorities to annual performance audits. Finally, the Act delineates requirements for the issuance, suspension and revocation of a certificate b) Computer Crimes Act 1997
The Computer Crimes Act 1997 ("CCA") primarily makes any unauthorized access to computers, network, applications, programs, data or information as an offence. The offences are categorized in the CCA as: I. Unauthorized access to computer material; II. Unauthorized access with intent to commit or facilitate further offence; III. Unauthorized modification of the contents of any computer; and IV. Wrongful communication of the means of access.

In addition to that, the Act also allows that any police officer arrest any person whom he reasonably believes to have committed or to be committing an offence against this Act without a warrant. Further to this, the Act also allows police officers above the rank of Inspector to conduct search at premises without warrant if the officer believes that if search is delayed, it will affect the availability of the evidences. c) Personal Data Protection Act 2010
This is latest act for communication and multimedia industry which the government announced to came into force in 15 November 2013. The Act was introduced to prevent misuse of people's personal data for commercial purpose. It purpose is also to ensure act information security, network reliability and integrity of data protection in Malaysia. It also listed the various offences and penalties under the act, including a fine of up to RM500,000 or a jail term of up to three years for processing personal data without a certificate of registration or after the registration had been revoked. 
As the Act will come in to force, companies should begin reviewing their policies, processes, contractual rights and obligations as well as standard forms and notices which relate to processing of personal data in order to ensure they are in compliance with the Act since the consequences for breaching it are severe. Despite of the negative publicity, the penalties also include fine or imprisonment for directors or any officers involved. d) Electronic Government Act 2007
Electronic Government Activities Act 2007 was enacted to provide legal recognition of electronic messages between the Government and the public. The Act provide it purpose to ensure the use of the electronic messages to fulfill legal requirement and to facilitate the communication through the use of electronic means. e) Electronic Commerce Act 2006
The Electronic Commerce Act (ECA) 2006 also known as Act 658 provides legal recognition of electronic messages in commercial transactions, the use of the electronic messages to fulfil legal requirements and to enable and facilitate commercial transactions through the use of electronic means and other related matters. The Act applies to any commercial transaction conducted through electronic means including commercial transactions by the Federal and State Governments. Furthermore, this Act sets up certain information security standards to be applied on the e-commerce activities. The effect of this is indirectly encouraging public to get involve in e-commerce as the information security practices are better. IT users and the owners of information assets ought to get some assurance that their activities are lawful, their communications and transactions valid and their transactions are protected. All these Acts and regulatory framework play vital role communication and multimedia industry in Malaysia. However, there are several arguments state that Malaysia’s IT regulatory framework are not the best and full of defect. For an instance, Professor Abu Bakar Munir from Faculty of Law, University of Malaya said that Electronic Commerce Act suffers from defects and weaknesses meanwhile, Electronic Government Activities Act is clearly redundant and unnecessary. Hence, Malaysia’s regulatory framework in communication and multimedia should be improved in order to conduct its purpose to facilitate the growth of electronic commerce in Malaysia.

CONCLUSION The enforcement of laws are very significant for monitoring the activities through any electronic means. Without it, various form of crime or fraudulent will be committed freely. Public will have no trust to get involve or using e-commerce technology because it look vulnerable and not secured. Hence, the growth of application of this technology will be futile. Malaysian Vision 2020 to be a developed country will not be achieved if this problem occurred in the future. Malaysia Government had successfully come out with an effective law enforcement in order to monitor activities in communication and multimedia industry. However, the regulatory frameworks should be analyze and improved along with the advancement of technology.

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