Malaysiakini News

Anti-Fake News Act repealed

Published:  |  Modified:

The Dewan Rakyat today approved a bill to repeal the controversial Anti-Fake News Act.

The bill was passed after the third reading before Dewan Rakyat speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof and received the majority vote.

In his winding-up speech, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohamed Hanipa Maidin said existing laws were sufficient and they could be amended if they were unable to address the issue of fake news.

He also accused the previous BN using the Parliament to formulate laws, not for the benefit of the people, but rather the coalition.

"BN used parliament to make laws to solve their problems. Your time is over,” he stressed.

Hanipa cited the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, and other civil laws, which can be used as a remedy for fake news.

At last week’s parliamentary proceedings, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong who tabled the motion to repeal the act, said the change in government policy has enabled fake news to be dealt with under other existing laws such as Penal Code, Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 and the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

The bill also stated that any investigation, prosecution or proceedings with respect to any pending offences under the repealed Act, may still be continued.

A total of 12 members of parliament took part in debating the bill.

Malaysiakini had mounted a legal challenge against the act, introduced during the administration of former premier Najib Abdul Razak, which was denounced as a tool to silence dissent and muzzle news on the 1MDB scandal.

However, the action was dismissed on technicality grounds.

Najib's government secured a simple majority in April to
pass the bill, which set out fines of up to RM500,000 and jail of up to six years.

Malaysia was among the first few countries to introduce an anti-fake news law although other countries in the region, including Singapore and the Philippines, have said they are considering how to tackle "fake news".

Germany approved a plan last year to fine social media networks if they fail to remove hateful postings.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad was himself accused of fake news over claims that his plane was sabotaged ahead of the May 9 general election.

Other leaders who were opposed to Najib were also charged
under the act.

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