Printing Presses and Publications Act, 1984
PRINTING PRESSES AND PUBLICATIONS ACT, 1984
Apart from the Copyright Act 1987 discussed above, the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 is also closely related to the publishing world. The purpose of this act is to control all types of publications, whether printed in the country or imported from abroad.
Section 3 of the act states that any person who intends to carry out printing work must obtain a licence from the Home Minister. A printing press means a machine which prints 1,000 copies in an hour. The minister may approve the licence with certain conditions and for a certain period. He may also reject, revoke or suspend a licence which has been issued. Any person who uses a printing press without a valid licence contravenes this act and if found guilty shall be imprisoned for a term not exceeding three years or fined not exceeding RM20,000 or both. In addition, the printing press used shall be seized.
Under Section 4, any person found guilty of printing or producing material which is obscene or against public decency shall be imprisoned for a term not exceeding three years or fined not exceeding RM20,000 or both. The same penalty shall be imposed on those who print or publish materials which contain sedition and incitement to disobedience to the law, and which may lead to disorder, hostilityand disunity. Any person who possesses any prohibited publication without reasonable excuse shall, on conviction, be fined not exceeding RM5,000.
Under Section 5, a permit must be obtained first before a person may print, import, publish, sell and distribute any newspaper. Those found guilty of committing these offences shall be imprisoned for a term not exceeding three years or fined not exceeding RM20,000 or both. In this matter, the Home Minister has absolute discretion to grant or reject a permit.
This act also provides provisions to the minister to control undesirable publications. Undesirable publications include any publication that is false, against morality and the law, which may lead to tension in relations with foreign countries, etc. All activities from publication to the possession of such publications are prohibited under this act. To facilitate control, this act requires that the names of the printer and publisher be printed in the publication, either in Malay or English.
This act also prohibits the importation of any publication which may be prejudicial to public order, morality and security. If the minister is satisfied that the importation of any publication will be prejudicial to public order, morality and security, he may prohibit such publication from being imported into this country. Any person who is convicted under this provision shall be fined not exceeding RM1,000 or imprisoned for a term not exceeding three years or both for the first offence. For subsequent offences, the penalties are imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years and the seizure and destruction of the publication under the order of the court.
However, a person shall not be guilty of an offence if it can be proved that the publication is imported, published, sold, offered for sale, circulated or reproduced without his consent or knowledge.
Under Schedule 1 of this act, all publishers in this country are required to submit their published materials for safekeeping at the National Library. Five copies of books or serials, maps, charts and posters must be submitted. For non-printed materials such as films, videos, electronic media and microphones, two copies must be submitted to the National Library.