Salleh: Anti-fake news law not to silence 1MDB debate

Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak says the burden of proof is on the person that makes an allegation.

KUALA LUMPUR: Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak today dismissed allegations that the anti-fake news law is aimed at silencing the debate on 1MDB.

He said there was nothing to stop anyone from debating or talking about 1MDB.

“The issue is when someone starts spreading ‘news’ and ‘facts’ which are false.

“For example, we keep hearing ‘news’ that RM42 billion of 1MDB’s money has ‘disappeared’ into thin air, when this has been officially explained and proven false,” he said in a blog post.

The minister said the bigger issue was to deal with the irresponsible spread of such fake “news” and “facts”, which he said applied to many other situations as well.

“When a lie is repeated too many times, people will believe it to be true. This is the disease of fake news which affects the world, not just Malaysia.”

The minister said truth was not subjective and had to be precise and backed with evidence which had been verified as true.

“If not, it would be mere claims and allegations, with nothing proven. Everyone should understand this concept, so that they will not be easily misled by ‘fake news’,” he said.

Salleh said it was surprising that some Malaysians appeared to be ignorant of the basic rule of law, where the burden of proof was always on the person who made the claim or allegation and the defendant was innocent until proven guilty.

“If you claim something, then you have to prove it to be true. You have to show your evidence, which needs to be verified for truth and authenticity,” he said.