The final draft of the new law aimed at curbing the spread of fake news will be tabled to the cabinet soon, according to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said.
“In a couple of weeks’ time, we will bring the draft to the cabinet to be finalised before it can be tabled in Parliament,” she told reporters after the opening of the first meeting of the sixth term of the 13th Parliament today.
However, Azalina said several factors need to be considered before the law can be tabled for first reading at the Dewan Rakyat, including whether there would be enough time for it to be tabled (for second and third readings), as well as to be debated and passed during the current session.
The first meeting of the sixth term of the Dewan Rakyat will take place for 20 days until April 5. The opening ceremony was graced by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V earlier today.
In his speech, Sultan Muhammad V (photo) also expressed support for the proposal to formulate legislation to address the spread of fake news and slander on social media, saying the medium was most influential in shaping the values and culture of a society.
Meanwhile, Azalina also called on lawmakers to debate the introduction of the new law wisely based on the sole purpose of protecting the sovereignty of the country once the bill is tabled in Parliament.
“The formulation of the new law is important because the term ‘fake news’ does not exist in any law in Malaysia right now,” she said.
The minister, however, refused to elaborate on the gist of the new law, saying that it was too early to do so.