Fu Ah Kiow, The Political Pendulum Clarifies.
The government has no plans at the moment to amend the Printing Presses and Publications Act to include the electronic and the internet media, he sheepishly clarified.
He said the government was only studying whether the 20-year old act needed to be amended with the new developments in the media world.
There had been complaints from the (print) media that the present act was 'not fair' since it only covered the print media, he said.
"So, after listening to the complaint, I said we would study the matter, never did I say that we would amend the act. (What a turnaround!)
He said some media had misreported his statement during the ministry's Mass Media Conference 2006 in Putrajaya recently by reporting that the ministry was going to amend the act to cover the electronic media and the internet.
"That's not true. I have to clarify that for the electronic media, it is still under the purview of the Multimedia Commission. I never said we would amend the Printing Presses and Publications Act (to cover electronic and internet media). It's (under) a different ministry," he said.
Fu explained that the reason the ministry would study the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 was to ascertain whether the act was still relevant for today's needs as there was a gap between the various types of media that existed today.
"This is particularly so for the print media which has been subjected to various regulations, while the electronic and internet media are able to 'get away with things' that the print media could not.
"We study the relevance of the act and it is just a normal study. It is an ongoing study of the ministry," he said.
Asked on the complaints from the internet media relating to the matter, Fu said : "What is there to complain about? Never did I say we are going to amend this law to control the internet media"
"Nobody has said that we are going to enact a law to control the internet media. I only said we are going to study the existing Printing Presses and Publications Act, " he said.
Let this serve as a lesson for other Fu Ah Kiow wannabes; think before you speak. First of all decide whether it is in your power to make such important announcements. Otherwise you'll be in the same type of embarrassing situation and of course severe 'loss of face' lah! Don't you agree Ah Kiow?