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Ong Ka Ting should direct Hoo Seong Chang to resign if Hoo can not direct the Domestic Trade And Consumer Affairs Enforcement Unit to stop raiding business premises for violating music copyright until the 1987 Copyright Act is amended
by Lim Guan Eng
(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): MCA President Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting should direct Datuk Hoo Seong Chang to resign as Parliamentary Secretary of the Domestic Trade And Consumer Affairs Ministry if he Hoo can not direct the Ministry’s Enforcement staff to stop raiding business premises for violating music copyright until the 1987 Copyright Act is amended. MCA Youth had recently submitted a memorandum seeking amendments to the copyright laws in opposition to Public Performance Malaysia’s (PPM) “unreasonable” royalty collection method from private businesses.
Opposition by MCA Youth would have credibility that they are serious and sincere if not for the fact that MCA MPs, including those from MCA Youth, had supported the 1987 Copyright Act when it was passed in Parliament. For MCA Youth now to send a memorandum in protest raises questions whether MCA is playing double-faced politics of opposing outside what they had supported inside.
For action to be taken against private businesses, PPM or Music Authors’ Copyright Protection Berhad (MACP which collects royalty on behalf of music composers whenever their songs are played or performed in public) can not act alone. They would have to rely on the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs enforcement unit to carry out raids, confiscate video compact discs, television sets, speakers, other equipment and discs as well as prosecute private businesses in court. Such actions are carried out under Section 41 (3) of the Copyright Act 1987 and owners can be fined between RM2,000 and RM20,000 for each infringed copy, jailed up to five years, or both.
If MCA MPs feels that there are defects in the copyright law they had supported and passed, or claims that this was not what the copyright laws intended, then they should “redeem their past mistakes” by demanding that all enforcement action by the Domestic Trade and Consumers Affairs Ministry be immediately suspended. Such enforcement action can not proceed until the copyright laws are amended to make it fair and reasonable. To avoid public impression that MCA are playing “double-faced politics”, Ong Ka Ting should direct Hoo to order the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry be immediately suspended until the copyright laws are clarified to make it more reasonable.
Any failure would do so would show that MCA is playing a duplicitous role of opposing loudly outside what they had quietly supported inside the government. If Hoo can not get the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry to follow his directive to suspend all enforcement action on music copyright issues, then he might as well resign in protest and protect the honour of MCA that does not play “double-faced” politics.
Such action is also necessary to prove that MCA is not “abetting” both the Ministry and also the music copyright owners to take enforcement action against private businesses based on what MCA considers as unreasonable royalty collection method.
* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP