It looks like the Anti-Fake News Act is not going anywhere anytime soon because Dr M says it is here to stay, albeit with some possible changes as to what will be considered “fake news”.
After Pakatan Harapan won the 14th general election and took over as Malaysia’s new government, many changes have since been in the works. In terms of freedom of expression, Permatang Pauh MP, Nurul Izzah is currently committed to restoring press freedom by abolishing the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) 1984. After all, her aim is to ensure that media is free and fair in Malaysia.
In relation to scrapping PPPA, many have also been wondering about the Anti-Fake News law and whether it will be abolished as well. However, it looks like our 7th prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is allowing it to stay, but not without some tweaks to the meaning of “fake news”.
According to Free Malaysia Today, the Anti-Fake News law will soon provide “proper” definitions of what constitutes “fake news” so that both media outlets and the public will be clear on what is considered fake.
“Even though we support freedom of the press and freedom of speech, there are limits,” Mahathir said in a live telecast over RTM yesterday (13 May) at his residence in Seri Kembangan.
Hence, he will soon redefine the definition of fake news for media and publications to have proper guidelines.
Abolishing the anti-fake news law had been among the campaign promises of the new ruling coalition Pakatan Harapan. After being tabled in parliament and introduced, many were in uproar, saying that it was impeding the democratic rights for the rakyat to have freedom of speech. In fact, some have already suffered from the effects of this controversial law.
So, does this mean that there will still be a law governing what is to be considered “fake news”? Only time will tell how the new government will redefine this Act.
In the telecast, Mahathir further stated that foreign investors must bring in capital and technology, and also set up factories for either domestic distribution or export. The country will invite foreign participation in large infrastructure projects “when we don’t have the expertise”, he said.
During the campaign, Mahathir had reportedly questioned the huge investments being made by China and Chinese companies in Malaysian infrastructure and property projects among other things.
Judging by his statement, it seems like the fake news bill might be here to stay, but under much different guidelines from the original version.
If it does stay, do you think it will still restrict the freedom of the rakyat to voice their opinions?