Woman jailed 1 week, fined RM1,000 for posting fake news on Covid-19

The magistrate told the accused that spreading false information on Covid-19 is a serious offence. (Reuters pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: An Indonesian woman was sentenced to one week in jail and fined RM1,000 by the Magistrate’s Court here for spreading fake news about Covid-19 on her Facebook account.

Fui Lina pleaded guilty before magistrate Wong Chai Sia to a charge under Section 505(b) of the Penal Code of posting a statement on Facebook with the intention of causing public mischief.

It is believed to be the first case of an accused person receiving a custodial sentence for spreading fake news on the virus.

Fui had said on Facebook the public should not go to a shopping mall in Cheras after a Chinese national fainted there and medical assistants, “in clothes that fully covered themselves”, took the person away.

Wong said the court was handing out the custodial sentence against Fui as she considered the act of spreading unverified information on Covid-19 as serious.

The court took into account the public interest in sentencing the accused, she said.

She said Fui would have to face an additional month in jail if she could not pay the fine.

Deputy public prosecutor Wan Ahmad Hakimi Wan Ahmad Jaafar sought a custodial sentence on Fui as he said her Facebook post had caused anxiety among the public.

“The health ministry has said the public should not share any information on coronavirus except from the government,” he said.

Fui, in pleading for a more lenient sentence, said she was a single mother and needed to take care of her son.