Defining What is Law in the Malaysian Media

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Table of Contents

  • Obective
  • Law
  • Printing Presses And Publications Act 1984
    Section 7(1) Act 301 - Undesirable Publication
  • Content
  • Issue
  • Conclusion

The word ‘law’ has various meanings depending on who or which party by many perspectives and interests respectively. According to Oxford Dictionary of Law, a legal word of law is a group of regulations in effect for the purpose of administration of a society. John Salmond in his book stated that the law as a group of principles recognized and applied by the state in the administration of justice or in other words law is a rule group that effect by the country over its people in order to keep peace and justice.

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In general, law is a rule group that exists in the community as well as establishes by the sovereign with the intention t govern patterns of behavior as well as guidance on how individuals or group should be responsible to establish community living a fair, harmony decoration. These regulations certified and accepted by the community.

Media law is a complex mix. It brings together a number of areas of law, civil and criminal, with a different origins and histories. The cases under review show an increasing tendency to emphasis freedom of expression as a unifying principle, s 14 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 receiving frequent mention.


Law and media law are two things that very important in countries especially in Malaysia. It is very important for us to understand and know well about the printing presses and publications law and also media law in this country. Through this law, people can be protected from being a victim of the power and the security of the country will be secure. Just imagine, if the country does not have or imply the media law and Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, it is certain that the country will face so many conflicts between other societies who are opposed to all decisions that made by other law. It is possible that outsiders from other country freely publish all printouts that can negatively affect the people, especially in terms of religion which could trigger racial disputes if these print laws are not implemented.


Printing Presses And Publications Act 1984

The Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 is a Malaysian act to enact laws on the use of printing presses and printing, importation, production, reproduction, publishing and distribution of publications and for matters connected therewith.

The act and this law have been made and enacted by the Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong after getting an advice and consent of the Dewan Negara and Dewan Rakyat in the Parliament. For the commencement, this act was cited as the printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 where it was for publications contain news content, explanations, incident reports or anything that could appeal to the public in the form of prints for the purpose of sale or distribution but excluding issues for or by the Federal or any State Government and the Government of Singapore.

However, the act has repealed the Printing Processes Act 1948 and the Imported Publication Control Act 1958. It was introduced to control the release of the printing press license as well as the issuing permits for various print media, including the political parties and daily newspapers. The Act also has some guidelines aimed at controlling the contents of publications not to offend others, misleading the public through untruthful statements, detrimental to the security and harmony of the nation and country by touching or even mentioning about racial issues. The Act is located under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Home Affairs with the monitoring done by the Control Section of the Publication and Text of the Quran, roughly this act is specially seen to control print and distribution of newspapers and magazines.

Section 7(1) Act 301 - Undesirable Publication

Section 7(1) of Act 301 which is named as the result of undesirable publication clarifies that if the Minister agrees with any publication result which may prejudice the peace and security of the public and the country, otherwise possible shocking the minds of the public or the opposite which any publication that may be harmful public interest or national interest to any law that contains any caricatures, photograph, report, any form of writing, sound, music, any statements or else, the Minister may be ordered in the Gazette to absolute prohibit or subject to prescribed conditions, printing, importation, production, sale, distribution or ownership of production proceeds and future production proceeds the publisher concerned.



The issue that has been said about a book where the Ministry of Home and Affairs has banned three of Syiah books in Malaysia. The Ministry of Home Affairs (KDN) gazette the Prohibition Order against three publications under Section 7(1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 (301) that happened in April 22. The three books are Rasulullah SAW since Hijra until Death of Pustaka Hidayah publication (Bandung, Indonesia), Tafsir Ayat-Ayat Kematian of Pustaka Hidayah (Bandung, Indonesia), and Spiritual Sinema: The Dramatics and Critique of the Harakah Book Unit publication (Kuala Lumpur).

The Ministry said that the books may harm public order or may be detrimental to the public interest because the books contain or seems to promote the elements of Syiah teachings or practices that are in conflict with the true teachings and faiths of the Sunnah Wal Jamaah in the country. Besides that, the books also can give propaganda through the distribution or sale of publications to the public.

Not only that, the issue also may occur because the publications can confuse the minds and public thoughts of Muslim and may have a negative implication on the security and social aspects of the Muslim community in Malaysia especially towards young generations.


In this case, the Ministry of Home Affairs has issued a prohibition on this Prohibition Order pursuant to Section 7(1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 (301). This order specifies the printing, importation, production, reproduction, publication and sale, distribution, distribution or possession of this publication is strictly prohibited in Malaysia.

For the three publications, if they are convicted, they may be subject or getting a punishment under Section 8(2) of the Act 301. Any person who prints, imports, produces, sells, offers to sell, distribute or in his possession for any such purpose any proceedings of the prohibition is committing an offense and shall, on conviction, be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to fine not exceeding RM20,000 or to both because it can make a confusion to Muslim community in Malaysia.


The case between the three of Syiah books that has been banned is same with the case of prohibited orders on 21 publications as it may prejudice or mislead the public including deviating from the true teachings of Islam. The case is due to the books published that contains harmful to public order, which may cause shock to public’s minds, may be detrimental to morality, which may be detrimental to public and national interests. However, even though they are from the derivation of different publications, but the content and issues are same which is all related to Islam and Muslim and their writing purpose can lead to harm and morality to the public and to the country.


As a conclusion for this case of three books that had been banned, the government and the Islamic religious authorities have to take more serious action against the publication of books that arbitrarily impair and playing with Islamic beliefs and teachings, also practices that are contrary to the teachings of Islam in this country. Not only that, the government also plays an important role in banning any book or any other publications and print media other that the Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (JAKIM) itself as all publications must comply with the guidelines issued by the JAKIM in which the printed content must be ineffective or may become conflict with the faith and practice of Sunnah wal Jamaah.

It is our hope as a society in Malaysia to the Ministry of Home Affairs to provide guidance to all the publishers, printers, importers, distributors and sellers out there so as not to produce negative publications that may have undesirable contention and can further prejudice public order, national security and people’s well-being. Good publishing results can provide positive information while making a healthy community mind is strongly encouraged as it is one of the major contributors towards a developed nation and a moral and ethical society. 

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