Legal Updates for February 2021

The Malaysiakini Decision: Liability of Online Intermediary Platforms for Third-Party Content

On 19 February 2021, the Federal Court in the case of Peguam Negara Malaysia v Mkini Dotcom Sdn Bhd & Another (Case No. 08(L)-4-06/2020) held in a 6-1 decision that Mkini Dot Com Sdn Bhd, the owner and operator of the Malaysian online news portal ‘Malaysiakini’ ("Malaysiakini"), was liable for contempt of court in relation to third-party comments that were posted on Malaysiakini’s website. The majority decision found Malaysiakini responsible for the third-party comments on its website based on section 114A(1) of the Evidence Act 1950 ("EA 1950"), which raises the legal presumption that Malaysiakini, as the news portal owner, was the publisher of the said comments. The editor of Malaysiakini, however, was found not guilty of publication of the comments. The Federal Court’s decision may have serious ramifications on the liability of online intermediary platforms for third party content moving forward. This Update therefore seeks to provide a brief analysis on the summary grounds of decision for both the majority and minority decisions of the Federal Court, pending the issuance of the full grounds of judgment.

Licensing Framework for Digital Banks

The Licensing Framework for Digital Banks policy document ("Licensing Framework") was issued by Bank Negara Malaysia ("BNM") on 31 December 2020, together with a set of Frequently Asked Questions ("FAQ"). The Licensing Framework came into effect immediately upon issuance, and interested applicants have until 30 June 2021 to submit the licence applications to carry out digital banking business. BNM targets to notify successful applicants (limited to 5 licences) in the first quarter of 2022.

This Update discusses in more detail the application criteria and procedures by way of an infographic. If you have any queries or concerns, please free to reach out to our team who would be delighted to assist.