Home minister warns of action over fake, seditious news

Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin says the spread of fake news has been on the rise.

PETALING JAYA: Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin today warned that the authorities would not hesitate to act against those who threaten security and public order through fake or seditious news.

In a statement, Hamzah said this included through the use of existing laws including the Penal Code, the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and the Sedition Act 1948.

“Of late, the spread of fake information or news which is seditious in nature has become widespread to the point that it can create an uneasy environment, especially when the news touches on sensitive issues among the people.”

Hamzah said statistics showed an increase in cases in 2018 and 2019 involving offences related to sedition against the royal institution, race, religion, rights, special positions and sovereign rights.

These, he said, were protected by Part 3 or Articles 152, 153 and 181 of the Federal Constitution.

In 2017, nine investigation papers on sedition were opened, while in 2018, 31 investigation papers were opened. Last year, 78 investigation papers were opened.

“As of May 11, 2020, as many as 262 investigation papers were opened by the authorities involving the spread of fake news which is seditious in nature and causes unease among the people.

“The ministry views this seriously as it can affect security and public order. We will not compromise against any party who seeks to provoke or threaten security and public order.”

He advised all parties against making or spreading false information or seditious news.

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