Don’t enforce fake news law on Malaysians, urges DAP senator

DAP senator T Chandra Mohan says the bill to repeal the fake news law can only be tabled in Parliament again after a year. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: DAP senator T Chandra Mohan has asked the government not to use the Anti-Fake News Act on Malaysians after Dewan Negara voted against a motion to repeal it today.

He said the law could still be enforced until another vote is taken in the Dewan Negara again after a year.

“All non-monetary bills can only be brought back to the Dewan Rakyat after a year unless the bill deals with money like SST (sales and services tax) then it would be taken for royal assent ,” he told FMT.

A bill to abolish the act was passed with a simple voice vote last month in the Dewan Rakyat.

Dewan Negara president S.A. Vigneswaran made the announcement after the block voting saw 28 members vote against the motion, compared to 21 who supported it while three others abstained.

Chandra Mohan said the PH government was against the Anti-Fake News Act as there were other laws that could be used against defamation and fake news.

Meanwhile, the National Union of Journalists Peninsular Malaysia (NUJ) has expressed disappointment with the Dewan Negara for rejecting the Anti-Fake News (Abolition) Bill 2018.

“We sincerely hope that the Pakatan Harapan government will bring up the same bill after one year in accordance with Article 68.2(b) of the Federal Constitution,” said general secretary Chin Sung Chew.

He said NUJ supports the move to repeal the Act for the sake of press freedom as there were sufficient laws to deal with fake news.

“Therefore, we don’t need new legislation. NUJ calls upon the bipartisan support for the repeal of the Anti-Fake News Act.”

Meanwhile, Malaysiakini reported that BN senator Khairul Azwan Harun said the law should be improved rather than abolished.

Khairul Azwan said the law was still relevant as even the US elections could be compromised by fake news and the Act targeted misinformation.

“This anti-fake news law should be a protection for the common man, against interests, either local or foreign, that aim to embroil our society in endless, unproductive confrontation,” he said.

Khairul Azwan further said even Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had been a victim of “fake news”.