PETALING JAYA: DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang today challenged Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak to a series of “duels” to weed out fake news from news reports of their choice.
The Gelang Patah MP said the series should be telecast live with both Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Harapan (PH) highlighting the news.
“In these series of ‘fake news confrontation’ between Salleh and myself, each side will produce five ‘fake news’ to be either confirmed as true and factual, or debunked as pure ‘fake news’,” he said.
Yesterday, Salleh, who is also Umno treasurer, had called on Malaysians to help defend the country from fake news or social media users with bad intentions whose accounts were defamatory or seditious in nature.
He said Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 made it an offence “to make or create content that is obscene, indecent, false, menacing or offensive in nature”.
Lim responded with a tweet saying that he opposed all fake news, whether it was against DAP or PH leaders, or against those from Umno or BN.
“Will Salleh/MCMC oppose all fake news, even those against DAP/PH leaders?” he asked over Twitter.
The veteran politician today said Umno should act against media organs under its own ambit to check the spread of fraudulent information.
“If Umno leaders are sincere in wanting to fight and expose ‘fake news’, as expressed by Salleh yesterday, is Umno prepared to direct its owned or controlled ‘mainstream media’ to stop publishing ‘fake news’?” he said in a statement following DAP’s “kopitiam dialogue” in Senai, Johor, this morning.
He said among the “fake news” hurled against him was a claim that PPBM chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad had given him RM1 billion as a bribe for his support.
He also cited reports that he intended to become prime minister in the event of PH taking over the government, that DAP wanted to “Christianise” Malaysia, and that he was anti-Malay and anti-Islam.
“Let these ‘fake news’ be the subject of such ‘fake news confrontation’, so that we fight and expose the ‘fake news’ all over the country,” he said.
Claiming that Umno was the country’s biggest manufacturer of fake news through Utusan Malaysia, Lim asked if the party would direct the Malay language daily to stop publishing the “fake news”.
He claimed that his statements, speeches and activities had been blacked out by the newspaper for the last 40 years, and that he had been demonised since the general election of March 2008.
He added that he had been unduly accused of dominating PH, making leaders like Mahathir, PKR’s Anwar Ibrahim and Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, PPBM’s Muhyiddin Yassin, and Amanah’s Mohamad Sabu and Husam Musa into his stooges and puppets.