Ex-communications minister Salleh welcomes Kit Siang’s call on fake news

Former communications and multimedia minister Salleh Said Keruak.

PETALING JAYA: Former minister Salleh Said Keruak has welcomed DAP strongman Lim Kit Siang’s call for a conference on the dissemination of fake news.

Salleh, who was communications and multimedia minister when the Anti-Fake News Act was passed last year, said it was time to ignore rhetoric and face the problem head-on irrespective of political loyalties.

“An awareness campaign to this threat must continue. All Malaysians must be on the same page and play their part to fight the fake news threatening our society,” he told FMT when asked to comment on the call by the veteran politician.

His comments come as Najib Razak ridiculed Lim’s call, labelling him the “grandfather of fake news”.

The former prime minister also listed a string of claims by leaders of the the former opposition front, Pakatan Harapan (PH), on the Lynas plant, the BR1M cash aide programme, as well as the deaths of Altantuya Shaariibuu, government prosecutor Kevin Morais, former DAP aide Teoh Beng Hock and banker Hussain Najadi.

Lim in a speech in Sandakan last week had issued a challenge to all political parties to take “a united and firm stand” against fake news and hate speech.

“Are the opposition parties prepared to attend a roundtable conference to combat fake news and hate speech? If so, DAP is prepared to host such a roundtable conference,” the Iskandar Puteri MP said.

Salleh described fake news as a “threat to our way of life”, and said any effort to stop fake news would also depend on a strong leadership.

“What we also need is a decisive leadership to enforce and educate the society,” he added.

The Anti-Fake News Act 2018 was passed under the former Barisan Nasional administration amid fierce criticism from civil society and PH leaders.

The PH government passed a bill in the Dewan Rakyat to abolish the law in August last year, but the move did not get the support of Dewan Negara.

The government said it would retable the abolition bill at the coming parliamentary sitting.