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Umno info chief blames ‘anti-gov’t portal’ for fake news agenda

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Umno information chief Annuar Musa has blamed a local news portal for churning out “fake news” that the opposition is using to attack the party.

Annuar told Bernama that an unnamed news portal was actually a foreign-based international media agent with its own intention and agenda.

“They are experts in making fake news, they buy and pay to get half-truth news and then they spin.

“They are very high-level media player with mission, they have a certain mission and not just a media outlet that wants to report news only,” he was reported as saying.

Although declining to name the portal in question, Annuar had claimed earlier this month that “Team Mahathir” was using the London-based whistleblower website Sarawak Report as a “weapon.”

The website, run by internationally-recognised journalist Clare Rewcastle-Brown (photo), has been blocked in Malaysia since the 1MDB scandal erupted several years ago.

Annuar told Bernama this posed a challenge for Umno and BN in the coming polls, as the field was no longer stereotypical or predictable, accusing the opposition of spreading misinformation.

Umno, he said, has come up with a special strategy to counter such alleged “fake news” from the opposition ahead of the 14th general election, but did not divulge details of this strategy.

"The challenges facing us are more complex, we cannot predict the tales they (opposition) are going to come up with, sometimes using foreign sources and agencies or quarters which are seen credible,” he said.

The 'right' information

While not providing details about the alleged portal claimed to be responsible for “fake news”, Annuar said the Umno information bureau was focusing on making people receive what he claimed was the “right” information.

“We cannot reveal what we are doing, but, for certain, we do not want the people to be deceived.

"The people should get verified information, although it takes a longer time, because now, building perception has become a strategy which is fully-used by those wanting to topple the government.

"Outside, there is various information being circulated, such as through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. We focus on how to get them to receive the right information.

“However, we are not too pessimistic, outside, there is also the silent majority, they don’t go Facebooking day and night and their job is not to circulate news. They can think for themselves and look for information,” Bernama reported him saying.

Bernama also reported Annuar as saying that he would be defending his Ketereh parliamentary seat, which he won by a 974-vote majority in 2013, and that he expected BN to regain its two-thirds majority in the Dewan Rakyat.

"Our aim is to win the maximum possible because we want to form a strong government. The people need a government that is strong.

“If we are to choose a government that waits until after the election to decide on the PM (prime minister) post, to take turn, you take two years and then my turn for two years, then we are heading for destruction,” he added.