COMMENT | A BN-owned newspaper which described yesterday’s Senate rejection of the Anti-Fake News (Repeal) Bill passed by the Dewan Rakyat as "a historic development" was right in the sense that it was a day of infamy for the Senate after six decades of irrelevance in Malaysian history.
It highlighted the urgency of parliamentary reforms with regard to the Senate to ensure that it could be an effective revising chamber for the Dewan Rakyat as envisaged by the founding fathers of the nation, instead of being a dumping ground for the political has-beens and the political rubbish from the BN parties, which was the standard operating procedure for appointment of BN senators in the past six decades.
This is why BN-appointed senators do not feel the shame that their appointers had been rejected by the people in the 14th general election, and if they had a modicum of shame and moral compass, they would have honourably resigned from the Senate instead of playing the role like yesterday as saboteurs and enemies of the popular will as expressed in the GE14.
The Pakatan Harapan is committed to far-reaching parliamentary reforms, not only for the Dewan Rakyat but also for the Dewan Negara, so that senators can play a proud and important role in the national political landscape.
Although a BN senator said after the rejection of the bill that opposition senators voted against the repeal because they believed the law prohibiting fake news could be improved, this is an insincere post-facto explanation for their sin of parliamentary sabotage, for no BN senator had submitted any specific proposal to improve the Anti-Fake News (AFN) Act.
I had previously said that the AFN Act was, in fact, a “Save Najib from 1MDB Scandal” legislation which criminalised all news about 1MDB scandal in Malaysia available worldwide and punishable as “fake news” with excessive penalties of RM500,000 fine, 10 years jail or both.
I have been a victim of fake news and false information for decades, demonising me as anti-Malay, anti-Islam; cause of May 13 riots in Kuala Lumpur in 1969 when I was never in Kuala Lumpur during the relevant period; agent of foreign powers one and the same time, agent of CIA, M16, KGB and Australian Intelligence; having received RM1 billion from Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to allow the entry of Bersatu into Pakatan Harapan; received RM100 million from Malaysian tycoon Robert Kuok; financed a news portal with RM40 million; received more than a billion ringgit from Israeli sources, and other monstrous and evil lies; and most recently, that I had wanted to partition Peninsular Malaysia into two parts, the west for the Chinese and the east for the Malays.
AFN Act a weapon to cover-up corruption
Are the income tax department and the special branch in Malaysia so inefficient, incompetent and unprofessional to allow such dastardly activities to take place in the past few decades without knowing about them?
It is of course impossible. In fact, Malaysia has one of the most competent, efficient and top-class special branch in the world, and these professionals know the fake news and false information about me are just downright lies – the handiwork of the Umno/BN propagandists and well-funded quinoa cybertroopers.
Will all these people who concoct and peddle these fake news and false information about me be arrested, prosecuted and punished with half-a-million ringgit fine or 10 years’ jail or both? Of course not.
This was why the Suhakam chairperson Razali Ismail had opposed the AFN Act, as while false news must be exposed and combated, it must not be through the AFN Act which had enormous implications and could lead to an authoritarian form of government.
As the Suhakam chairperson rightly pointed out early this year, the Umno/BN government’s track record in utilising laws for reasons other than its intended purpose was arguably questionable and the proposed law could be used to exert control over the media and worsen Malaysia’s standing on the Reporters Without Border’s World Press Freedom Index.
Malaysia ranked 144th out of 180 countries in the 2017 index.
The AFN Act was a new weapon to cover-up corruption, in particular, the 1MDB corruption and money-laundering scandal and to entrench Malaysia’s 3Is – ignominy, infamy and iniquity – as a global kleptocracy!
Now that the BN-controlled Senate had sabotaged the repeal of the AFN Act for at least for a year, maybe the former premier Najib Abdul Razak should be the first to be charged for the mountain of fake news he had manufactured about the 1MDB scandal, including his false claims that the RM2.6 billion donation in his personal bank accounts came from Saudi Arabia royalty, and that the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the 13th Parliament had cleared him of any wrongdoing in the 1MDB scandal.
LIM KIT SIANG is the MP for Iskandar Puteri.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.