4 arrested for spreading fake news on coronavirus

PETALING JAYA: Four people were arrested today in connection with spreading fake news regarding the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak, which has affected seven people in Malaysia so far.

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) said today’s arrests were the result of four separate raids with the help of the police: two in Melaka and one each in Kedah and Pahang.

It said two pharmacy assistants, aged 25 and 30, were detained in Peringgit and Merlimau, Melaka, to assist in investigations into false information posted on Facebook on Jan 26.

In Kedah, a 49-year-old part-time tutor was arrested on suspicion of uploading false news on Facebook on Jan 25.

In Kuantan, a 24-year-old student at an institute of higher learning was arrested for sharing false information on Twitter on Jan 27.

Four smartphones, five SIM cards and two memory cards were confiscated during these raids.

The suspects are being investigated under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, which carries a maximum fine of RM50,000 or a jail term of not more than one year, or both on conviction.

Earlier today, police had announced that they had opened four investigation papers on rumours and unverified claims on social media related to the coronavirus outbreak.

Bukit Aman CID director Huzir Mohamed said police were also investigating a Facebook user, Kong Tuck Wah, for sharing contents of a police report related to the coronavirus.