Hornbill Unleashed

March 27, 2018

Pakatan wants Anti-Fake News Bill 2018 withdrawn in Parliament

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:02 AM

Pakatan Harapan (PH) has urged the Barisan Nasional (BN) government to withdraw the Anti-Fake News Bill 2018 which is expected to be tabled in Parliament this week.

Its national Women chief for Sarawak Affairs Voon Shiak Ni, who called for the withdrawal, wondered how the proposed regulation could serve public interest when it might harm freedom of speech in the country.

“Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said had said that the Cabinet had approved the draft of the proposed law against fake news, with the Bill to be tabled in Parliament this week for its first reading.

“What are the repercussions of this Anti-Fake News Bill on human rights and the right to the freedom of expression and speech by our fellow Malaysians especially when we are living in a nation which harboured 101 things that need to be righted,” she said in a media statement yesterday.

Voon, who is national Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Women vice-chief, said Azalina did mention that the “genuine purpose of the Anti-Fake News Bill was drafted in line with public interest with the intention of protecting national security and harmony in the country by curbing the circulation of fake news”.

“But how can it serve public interest if the purported fake news was meant to include all scandal-ridden 1MDB (1Malaysia Development Berhad) related issues?

“The Communication and Multimedia Ministry had confirmed that fake news included those in relation to the 1MDB scandal in which Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is implicated and that stern actions would be taken against those circulating and spreading news on social media,” added Voon.

She said she could not help but believe that the new regulation “will add to the list of repressive laws in Malaysia to silence critics and voices of the civil societies who speak up against corruption and malpractices of the failed system under the ruling government”.

She pointed out that there was also a lack of definition pertaining to the extent of the application of the Bill as well as guidelines and transparency in the interpretation of the Bill.

Not only was this a worrying factor, she said, but the Bill could also be easily abused.

“The Bill, if passed, can accord the ruling government extensive powers to use the new law to suppress information and this is just not right and violates democracy.

“We seriously call for the withdrawal of this Bill as we do not want Malaysia to be seen as a cowardly nation which fears the voices of the people.

“We certainly do not want to be seen as a nation that imposes the most number of repressive and restrictive laws on its 33 million people. Be reminded that it is not honourable at all to have that image in the eyes of the world,” said Voon.

According to the Bill, fake news includes any news, information, data and reports, which is or are wholly or partly false, whether in the form of features, visuals or audio recordings or in any other form capable of suggesting words or ideas.

The Bill also states that “Any person who directly or indirectly provides or makes available financial assistance intending that the assistance be used, or knowing or having reasonable grounds to believe that the assistance will be used, in whole or in part, for the purposes of committing or facilitating the commission of an offence under Section 4, commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding five hundred thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or to both”.

Section 4 of the Bill touches on offences for “Creating, offering, publishing, etc., fakes news or publication containing fake news”.

Section 4(1) of the same Bill says: “Any person who, by any means, knowingly creates, offers, publishes, prints, distributes, circulates or disseminates any fake news or publication containing fake news commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding five hundred thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or to both, and in the case of a continuing offence, to a further fine not exceeding three thousand ringgit for every day during which the offence continues after conviction”.

Source : The Borneo Post Online




  1. Today and tomorrow will be critical as to whether we can stop the bulldozing juggernaut from rolling over our body to snatch the election that will accelerate the country’s unrelenting slide towards infamy. Parliament will move to embrace the abominable redelineation plan today, and the Court of Appeal will decide whether such a plan is constitutional. Tragically, public opinion seems dormant on these life-or-death issues that will determine the fate of the nation for generations to come. Will we live with our heads high as proud Malaysians of a successful country, or will we be doomed to be citizens of a failed state, where immorality prevails and thieves and robbers rule? GE 14 will give the answer. And the critical events over these two days will decide whether the ruling coalition can use this shameful electoral roll to snatch the election right in front of our eyes.

    Comment by KQ — March 28, 2018 @ 10:38 AM | Reply

  2. Najib and Umno Baru controlled BN government had on many occasions issued goverment guaranteed useless bonds for fake projects and payment made to fake beneficiaries such as from 1MDB to Aabar Investment PJS Ltd in BVI. The stolen money was then distributed among Najib, Jho Low, Reza Aziz and their Arab accomplices.

    Comment by Awaken Dayak — March 27, 2018 @ 9:44 PM | Reply

  3. Only the Govt has the right to say whether it’s fake news or not? What if the culprits or corrupted are top Govt leaders? Does that mean the truth will never come out, always sweep under the carpets and cover up? Who is going to check on them? Wait another 5 years for election time? If the Govt cannot be trusted, the country will go down the drain.

    Comment by Midas — March 27, 2018 @ 7:09 PM | Reply

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