MP Raja Kamarul: Is fake news law to silence 1MDB critics?

KUALA LUMPUR: Kuala Terengganu MP Raja Kamarul Bahrin Shah wonders if the government will use the proposed fake news law to silence critics of 1MDB.

He said Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Jailani Johari’s statement that any unverified information about 1Malaysia Development Board (1MDB) was considered fake news seemed to indicate this.

Raja Kamarul said Jailani’s statement made it look as if only the findings tabled at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament would be considered verified information.

“This means what is not included in the PAC report would be accepted as fake news. This is the new law they are going to table next week,” he said at a press conference at the Parliament building here today.

It was recently reported that the final draft of the proposed legislation to address fake news had not yet been raised in the cabinet, as stated by Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak, despite the high probability of it being tabled in Parliament by next week.

On March 5, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said mentioned that the final draft of the new act would be tabled at a cabinet meeting before being tabled in the Dewan Rakyat.

“No one knows what is the actual verified information about 1MDB that we can actually talk about,” said Raja Kamarul.

“The PAC report has not been given to us so how are we to know what it contains and what is considered verified.

“Since the auditor-general’s report has been classified under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) we will not receive anything. This means that when this law is passed we will not be allowed to speak about 1MDB at all.

“Currently there is a blanket embargo for MPs to stop them from speaking or asking questions about 1MDB. Now, with the new law we can be arrested for speaking about 1MDB. This is a ridiculous situation that we are in,” said the MP.