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No law, but don't ignore threat of fake news, says Kit Siang's aide

Published
Modified 23 Oct 2019, 4:02 am

The absence of laws regulating 'fake news' in Malaysia does not mean society should ignore problems surrounding disinformation.

Lawyer Syahredzan Johan welcomed the move by Parliament to once again repeal the Anti-Fake News Act 2018, but cautioned against threats posed by fake news and online falsehoods.

"What more when these online falsehoods were created and shared by certain parties for their personal or political interests," the political secretary to Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang said in a statement.

Syahredzan cited as examples fake news that targeted Lim as an alleged foreign agent, that the DAP veteran was born in China, harboured intentions to be appointed prime minister, and others.

"Recently we came to know of several Twitter accounts that used Lim's image without his permission, with intentions to spread falsehoods.

"We will continue to monitor and expose these attempts," Syahredzan stressed.

He further urged all parties, be they from the government, individuals or corporations, to work together against disinformation, particularly by promoting the importance of fact-checking before sharing.

On Oct 9, a bill to repeal the Anti-Fake News Act was passed once again by the Dewan Rakyat, after it was rebuffed by the Dewan Negara last year.

Should the bill be rejected once again by the Senate, the repeal will nonetheless take effect, as Article 68(2) of the Constitution will allow the bill to be presented to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for assent to become law. 

Meanwhile, Lim in a statement repeated his warning about more disinformation being shared ahead of the Nov 11 date, when the prosecution in former premier Najib Abdul Razak’s RM42 million SRC trial will end its case.

Should the Kuala Lumpur High Court order Najib to enter his defence, Lim claimed that even more lies and slander, particularly against DAP and Amanah, will be shared until the end of the trial.

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