KUALA LUMPUR: Pakatan Harapan (PH) deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin today questioned what measures would be taken by the government to differentiate between fake and true news.
For instance, he said, many different statements have been made in the cases of the RM2.6 billion deposited in the bank account of the prime minister and the investigation by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) into 1MDB-linked issues.
“When I was in Umno, I asked where the RM2.6 billion came from and the prime minister said it was from a Saudi Arabian donor.
“But, there were many reports, such as from Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and DoJ, that the money was not a Saudi donation but came from 1MDB.
“Then, I read a statement by Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak who said the DoJ reports were not fake news.
“So, which news is fake and which is true?” said Muhyiddin, who is a former deputy prime minister and PPBM’s MP for Pagoh.
Debating the Anti-Fake News Bill in the Dewan Rakyat, he said he saw no pressing need for the government to introduce a new law to curb fake news.
“Although the intention of the bill is good, the way it is going to be implemented may give rise to many questions.
“It is being done hastily and can become a tool for the BN to restrict the people’s freedom of speech and right to criticise the government,” he said.
He was interrupted by Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Tajuddin Abdul Rahman who told Muhyiddin not to talk about foreign investigations when he should be focusing on the laws in Malaysia.
“Foreigners can investigate this and that but what laws should we follow, Malaysian or foreign?” said Tajuddin, who is Pasir Salak MP.
However, Muhyiddin reminded Tajuddin that the DoJ reports concerned serious issues connected to Malaysia.
“The issues are about money laundering linked to 1MDB, which is a company owned by the finance ministry,” he said.