Azalina: Proposed fake news law won't be like Dr M-era ISA

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The government's planned fake news law will be different from the Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA) which was in force during Dr Mahathir Mohamad's time in power, says Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Azalina Othman Said.

"Mahathir should not worry as the law being formulated will not be like the ISA which stifled freedom of speech and (enabled) detentions without trial," Azalina said.

She was responding to the Pakatan Harapan chairperson, who had said that while a law to curb fake news was “good”, there were concerns that the legislation would be used to censor news about issues such as the 1MDB scandal.

Azalina said she was taken aback by Mahathir's remarks, and stressed that the law will not be used to stifle dissent.

"(His) allegation is completely unfounded, (fake news) is a global issue and foreign countries are also taking steps to curb it.

"As a former prime minister and parliamentarian who served more than 20 years, Mahathir should look at this effort without any misconceptions, because this law is being drafted with prosperity and national security in mind," she added.

She said fake news could affect anyone including Mahathir himself, and thus the proposed law was in line with the current situation.

Azalina is currently heading a special committee that is drafting the fake news law.

She has stated that the committee will consult all stakeholders, including MPs from the government and opposition.