‘Fake news’ on falling car prices: Will Azalina act, asks Pua

tony-pua-azalinaPETALING JAYA: DAP MP Tony Pua has challenged Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said to take action against a Malay language daily for publishing “fake news” on falling car prices.

Pua, who is Petaling Jaya Utara MP, was referring to Berita Harian’s (BH) cover story on Sunday, which said that car prices had dropped since 2013 due to the government’s automative policies and the strengthening ringgit.

The report, which Pua said carried the headline “Menepati Janji Manifesto BN”, said prices for various local, Japanese and European cars had dropped between 2.25% and 20.77%.

Specialist automotive blog paultan.org however disputed the claim, saying BH compared different variants of the same model and used inaccurate pricing information.

It said the new versus old prices in the BH report “were cherry-picked for convenience, without taking into account variants and specifications”.

“Based on the old prices we’ve dug up, it appears that car prices have not come down by much in general,” it added.

For example, Pua said, BH had compared the 2013 Perodua Alza 1.6 SE Manual model with the 2018 Standard model to show a 14.18% reduction in price.

For the Proton Exora, he added, BH had used an inflated price for its 2013 comparison to “exaggerate” the decrease.

“Instead of using the original price at 2013, it used the 2016 price, which came after a price increase across the range.

“Worse, the report even included insurance for its ‘2013’ price whereas the current price stated does not include insurance,” he said in a statement.

Pua said the comparisons provided by BH were “at best between apples and oranges, and at worst, comparing fake apples with real oranges”.

He asked if Azalina, who has been tasked with tabling an anti-fake news bill in the next parliamentary sitting, would instruct the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) or the home ministry to act against BH for publishing the report.

“If she doesn’t, then it is clear that she is not sincere in ensuring an anti-fake news bill which is fair, and which will not be abused by the BN government to punish opposition critics and whistleblowers,” he said.