In saying fake news should be exposed and condemned, DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang tells Prime Minister Najib Razak to take a look at Umno-controlled newspapers.
PETALING JAYA: For all Najib Razak’s talk about the need to combat the “cancer” of fake news, Lim Kit Siang says the prime minister is in fact responsible for “the most heinous fake news” any government has ever concocted: the official report of the 1MDB scandal.
Slamming the official version that “the global kleptocratic 1MDB scandal does not exist”, the DAP veteran said Malaysia’s mainstream media, especially those owned and controlled by Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN), had “blazed the path of transforming ‘newspapers’ into ‘lies-papers'”.
“Fake news, whether in social media, foreign newspapers or in local mainstream media, must be equally combatted, exposed and condemned, for they are designed not only to distort truth, but deceive the people about the true facts and situation,” he said in a statement today.
Lim’s comments came a day after the prime minister expressed concern over fake news entering the mainstream media and lies masquerading as facts, including those about Malaysia.
Speaking at an event organised by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers last night, Najib said it was the duty of publishers, editors and reporters to maintain readers’ trust and to fight false news that threatened to turn truth into a purely subjective matter.
However, Lim said Najib had failed to mention the 1MDB scandal which had “haunted” the country for the past two years.
Instead, he said, the prime minister had referred to “a well-known foreign newspaper” which he claimed had been “printing lies about the government”.
“Everybody knows that Najib was referring to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), which had worked assiduously and consistently on the global kleptocratic 1MDB scandal,” the Gelang Patah MP said.
If the WSJ reports about 1MDB were “lies” against Najib and his government, Lim said, why were they not able to expose them as falsehoods? Likewise, why had Najib not sued WSJ as he had threatened to do in 2015?
Asking if Najib was ready to issue a white paper, or report, to end the “false and fake news” about 1MDB, Lim added that the issues raised could not be dispelled by any “continued pretence” that the scandal did not exist.