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Democratic Action Party ( DAP) : Don’t Enforce Draconian Fake News Law On Malaysians & Anti Fake News Law Must Be Scrapped – Detrimental To Malaysians Rights

This anti-fake news law is another example of a terrible and ill-intentioned law meant to exercise undemocratic control over society. The present government in power intends to use this law along with others merely to stifle democratic dissent. – DAP Malaysia

These draconian laws have the power to induce an artificial situation where the information dished out by the government of the day becomes the “real’ one. – DAP Malaysia

Lim Guan Eng criticised the Bill passed yesterday as detrimental to Malaysians’ rights. Lim described the law’s effects as insidious, saying it would cause journalists to operate with a cloud of fear hanging over their heads. “Everyone, both Opposition lawmakers and journalists, should know that this Bill will obstruct us from performing our job professionally, because at the back of our minds, we will be wary that we can be charged. This is a form of self-censorship,” he said. – Malay Mail

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng claimed he was shocked that lawmakers from rival PAS voted for the Anti-Fake News Bill 2018, saying the Islamist party was acting like a member of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN). – Malay Mail

Kit Siang: Anti Fake News law must be scrapped – The Star

Don’t enforce fake news law on Malaysians, urges DAP senator

DAP senator T Chandra Mohan has asked the government not to use the Anti-Fake News Act on Malaysians after Dewan Negara voted against a motion to repeal it today. – FMT

DAP Malaysia : It takes a fake government to introduce an anti-fake news law

This anti-fake news law is another example of a terrible and ill-intentioned law meant to exercise undemocratic control over society. The present government in power intends to use this law along with others merely to stifle democratic dissent.

These draconian laws have the power to induce an artificial situation where the information dished out by the government of the day becomes the “real’ one.

Source : DAP Malaysia

The Anti-Fake News Bill, 2018 was debated in Parliament on Thursday and is scheduled to continue on Monday after which, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Dato’ Sri Azalina binti Othman Said is expected to respond to various questions raised in the said debate before the said Bill is put to a vote.

It is no secret that the said Bill is strongly opposed by the opposition but it should not be thought that only the opposition has an issue with it as other independent bodies have voiced similar concerns and reservations over it as well.

After severely criticising the said Bill, SUHAKAM concluded the following in a statement released just before the said Bill was debated,

“SUHAKAM strongly suggests that a parliamentary committee be set up to consider plausible measures to address the issue of fake news, and to avoid confusion among the public given that Malaysia has already many laws to address forms of hate speech and/or unlawful content which are found in the Penal Code, Sedition Act, Printing Presses and Publication Act and the Communications and Multimedia Act, among others.”

Executive Director of the Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) is reported to have complained that,

“the arbitrariness of the definition of ‘fake news’ is repugnant to the rule of law, and with the bill empowering only the attorney-general to prosecute, it promotes greater impunity. It is a crushing blow for civic spaces and investigative journalism in this country.”

Suaram adviser Kua Kia Soong also voiced concern when he observed,

“US President Donald Trump’s “fake news” mantra has inspired authoritarian leaders elsewhere to manufacture new laws that can both target legitimate media outlets that are critical of them and further violate the media’s ability to exercise freedom of expression.”

Human Rights Watch (HRW) went for the jugular saying,

“Malaysia’s fake news bill is a blatant attempt by the government to prevent any and all news that it doesn’t like, whether about corruption or elections. The proposed law uses draconian penalties and broad language in an audacious and unprecedented effort to control discussion of Malaysia worldwide.”

London think tank Asia Pacific at Chatham House also weighed in on the matter declaring,

“The danger is that this new bill, without stronger legal definitions and clearer safeguards, is just another tool for the Malaysian authorities to drag any critical comments under the rubric of fake news.”

The Washington Post did not mince words in its assessment of the said Bill saying,

“The Malaysian proposal looks more like a tool of arbitrary government control and intimidation.”

The latest to have joined the chorus of dissatisfaction over the Bill (at the time of writing) is none other than the Prime Minister’s brother Nazir Razak who said in an Instagram posting that the said Bill ought not to be rushed and should be carefully considered as,

“This is about basic rights of individual expression, and instilling fear of such draconian punishment based on ambiguous definitions will retard our society.”

The proposed Anti-Fake News Act (if and when it becomes law) imposes severe “draconian” (to borrow the term used by Nazir) penalties ranging from a maximum fine of RM500,000.00 to imprisonment of six years for, amongst others, “maliciously circulating or disseminating fake news or publication containing fake news”, the definition of which (as provided for in the said Act) includes “any news, information, data and reports, which is or are wholly or partly false, whether in the form of features, visuals or audio recordings or in any other form capable of suggesting words or ideas.”

The word “maliciously” in the said Act above is in fact a replacement for the word “knowingly” which was originally intended to be a part of the offence created under the said Act. In other words, an offence under the said Act is said to have been committed regardless of whether an offender knew what he published or republished was fake news as long as it can be shown that such publication or republication was done maliciously on his part.

What constitutes “malice” is not defined in the said Act which raises valid concerns as to its application.

For instance, would a Pakatan supporter who shares an article produced by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that is critical of the Prime Minister and the Barisan Nasional government on his Facebook page be considered to have acted maliciously?

In the absence of a clear definition of what amounts to malice in the said Act, a judge who is a staunch Barisan Nasional supporter might think so but not necessarily a judge who is sympathetic with the Pakatan cause as the question would be a purely subjective one.

What if a person claims that he had no idea that the contents of the said WSJ article was fake? What if he strongly thought its contents were true before he shared it on Twitter?

Since knowledge has been removed as a prerequisite of the offence of creating and/or publishing fake news under the said Act, it is irrelevant if a person truly believed what he shared on Facebook or Twitter was true.

As such, it matters not if you believe US Attorney-General Jeff Sessions when he said the 1MDB scandal was “kleptocracy at its worst” or his predecessor Loretta Lynch’s claim that “a number of corrupt 1MDB officials treated this public trust as a personal bank account to satisfy their astonishing greed”.

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Most of all, don’t even think of sharing WSJ’s many articles which claim that the Prime Minister might be implicated in the 1MDB scandal on social media as our Attorney-General, Tan Sri Apandi Ali had cleared the Prime Minister of any wrongdoing in relation to the 1MDB scandal in January, 2016.

You are all wrong to even think for a moment that the claims of the personalities referred to above are anywhere near true or implicate the Prime Minister in any way because our A-G has absolved the Prime Minister of any such wrongdoing which suggests such international reports are false.

Who are we to think otherwise? After all, the Government knows best right?

Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Jailani Johari seems to think so as was evident in a recent statement of his that any news related to 1MDB which is not recognized by the authorities would be considered fake news (“1MDB news not recognised by govt is fake news, says minister”, The Malaysian Insight, 21.3.2018).

In light of the above, it is hard to believe that our Prime Minister once said, not too long ago, that the days of “the Government knows best” are over!

Furthermore, Apandi could not have been wrong in clearing Najib because if he was, he would be guilty of spreading fake news. Since section 11 of the said new Act requires the A-G to consent in writing to any prosecution under the said Act, Apandi would have to consent to prosecute himself under same if his said clearing of Najib was based on fake news. Surely, nobody in their right mind would think Apandi would do this which means he must have been speaking the truth when he cleared Najib never mind if the rest of the world thinks otherwise right?

So, let’s start with taking steps to get the main author of the article in the WSJ that started this whole drama, ‘Malaysia’s 1MDB Scandal’ arrested. His name is Tom Wright and I understand he is based in Hong Kong. He must be one of the biggest purveyors of fake news who must be put behind bars at all costs together with those responsible to have bestowed on him an award at the Society of Publishers in Asia (Sopa) Awards 2016 as Journalist of the Year for exposing the 1MDB scandal in the said article.

How could they have done such a thing?

It is unthinkable for Wright and company to have suggested that according to investigators, substantial 1MDB funds are believed to have ended up in Najib’s accounts as 1MDB CEO, Arul Kanda recently confirmed that 1MDB never paid a cent to the private accounts of the Prime Minister.

Of course owing to his tight schedule in running the country, it is understandable that the Prime Minister has not had the time since 2016 to sue WSJ and Tom Wright for such reckless claims. I have no doubt that if he did, Arul would be up there on his list of witnesses to testify on oath in Court that 1MDB money never went into Najib’s accounts which would demolish and shut WSJ up for good.

Arul should seriously consider convincing Najib to sue these WSJ rascals once and for all since he (Arul) possesses the necessary information to do so. He would certainly be doing the country a favour if he did as we are sick and fed up with all the lies being spewed the world over by these irresponsible parties.

While we are at it, why not get our chaps from Bukit Aman, since they seem to have so much free time on their hands, to also pay a visit to the author of an article in The Economist titled, “Malaysia’s PM is about to steal an election” who had the audacity to suggest in the said article that,

“America’s Justice Department has accused him (Najib) and his stepson, among others, of siphoning money out of 1MDB through an elaborate series of fraudulent transactions. Much of the money went on luxuries, it says, including paintings by Picasso and Monet, a private jet, diamond necklaces, a penthouse in Manhattan and a gambling spree in Las Vegas.”

Oh yes, we should also take comfort in the fact that section 3(2) of the said Act states that the Act shall apply only if “the fake news concerns Malaysia or the person affected by the commission of the offence is a Malaysian citizen.”

In other words, the Act will not apply if the victim of the so called fake news is not a Malaysian citizen so tell your Singaporean business partner to bugger off if he complains that you have been spreading fake news about him to take over the business since only us Malaysians are worthy of being protected under the said Act despite the fact that our Federal Constitution guarantees that all are equal before the law.

This also means that people like Tom Wright are not protected by the Act if the government spreads fake news about him but that’s okay since he’s blatantly guilty of spreading fake news anyway, right?

More significantly, we can continue criticising the famous (or infamous) “MO-1” referred to in the report by the US Department of Justice on 1MDB without the fear of being charged under the said Act since the said “MO-1” can’t possibly be a Malaysian citizen right?

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Rahman Dahlan must have been wrong to have suggested that the said “MO-1” is our Prime Minister. Surely, our responsible government will take the necessary steps to ensure that he is investigated under the said Act for possibly spreading fake news unless his claim that “MO-1” is Najib is indeed true…

And if you feel that there is something wrong with this new law, don’t bother asking your MP to raise it in Parliament as he will probably be told to go to hell for doing so by the know it all Barisan MPs. If you’re lucky, some BN MPs like Deputy Agriculture and Agro Industries Minister and Pasir Salak MP Tajuddin Rahman might even offer to go to hell with your said MP like he did when he said “Go to hell with you” to Muhyiddin Yassin when the latter raised the matter in Parliament recently!

Last but not least, let me take the opportunity here to condemn the upcoming book “Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World” which is due to be launched later this year even before reading it simply because one of its authors is none other than Tom Wright.

The said Bill has taught me to assume that the said book is undoubtedly going to be full of fake news and will very likely criticise poor Penang boy Jho Low and might even implicate Najib in the process. Surely, I would be doing my country a great disservice by flicking through its filthy pages.

The Government must ban it now even before it reaches the printers.

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Sarcasm aside, the proposed Anti-Fake News Act should not be taken lightly as it has the potential to create fear among Malaysians as a time will come when we will be afraid to click on news which might seem controversial let alone share it for fear of being prosecuted under the said Act.

Such fear will inevitably lead to Malaysians being easily dictated to where government propaganda will prevail over common sense thus severely compromising our ability to think freely and independently. It will lead to a society oblivious to the realities of information which might be critical of the government of the day as our children and their children will fear penal consequences for literally deciding for themselves what is fake and what is not.

I am comforted by the fact that opposition leader Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail confirmed in Parliament that the said Act, if passed, will be repealed immediately once Pakatan Harapan comes to power.

Our children have a God given right to think for themselves and be original in the way they apply their minds. No government has the right to deprive them of this most sacred of rights as doing so will result in a generation of fake minds.

That is why we must, at all costs, strive to avoid moving towards a fake generation.

Ramkarpal Singh

MP FOR BUKIT GELUGOR

Media statement by Ramkarpal Singh in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, 1st April 2018

Source : DAP

DAP skewers PAS for supporting law against fake news

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng claimed he was shocked that lawmakers from rival PAS voted for the Anti-Fake News Bill 2018, saying the Islamist party was acting like a member of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN).

Commenting on remarks by Pasir Mas MP Nik Mohamad Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz in support of the Bill, he questioned why an Opposition party would back a law that is criticised as oppressive.

“We had expected them to oppose but I was shocked that they supported the Bill.

“Are they an Opposition party or part of Barisan Nasional?” he asked reporters at a press conference in Parliament today.

The Bagan MP also criticised the Bill passed yesterday as detrimental to Malaysians’ rights.

Lim described the law’s effects as insidious, saying it would cause journalists to operate with a cloud of fear hanging over their heads.

“Everyone, both Opposition lawmakers and journalists, should know that this Bill will obstruct us from performing our job professionally, because at the back of our minds, we will be wary that we can be charged. This is a form of self-censorship,” he said.

The Bill was passed in Parliament by a majority voice vote after a brief debate at the committee stage yesterday.

Prior to that, Putrajaya amended the Bill to reduce the maximum prison term from 10 to six years and to require malicious intent for a conviction.

It must still be approved by the Senate before it can be gazetted as law.

Source : Malay Mail

Lim Kit Siang: Dr M would have been first Malaysian charged under Anti Fake-News Act if BN still in power

DAP’s Lim Kit Siang claimed today Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad would have been the first person prosecuted under the Anti-Fake News Act if Pakatan Harapan (PH) had not defeated Barisan Nasional (BN) last year.

Lim, who is also Iskandar Puteri MP, said Dr Mahathir would also have been joined by other PH leaders in facing criminal charges for speaking out against the 1MDB scandal involving Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

“If Barisan Nasional had won the 14th General Election, Malaysians would be turned into a ‘Alice-in-Wonderland’ country where any reference to the 1MDB scandal would be a criminal offence under the Anti-Fake News Act liable to be jailed for six years or fined RM500,000, or both.

“Although outside the borders of Malaysia, the whole world would know about the 1MDB scandal and Malaysia becoming a global kleptocracy,” he said in a statement here.

While campaigning last year, PH chairman Dr Mahathir was investigated by the police under the Act for saying the flight to Langkawi he chartered on the eve of nomination day had been sabotaged. Authorities later dropped the investigation.

Lim claimed this was made very clear by former deputy communications and multimedia minister Jailani Johari who once defined any information about 1MDB not verified by the government as fake news.

He further reiterated that the Act was in fact a “Save Najib from 1MDB Scandal” legislation which criminalised all news about 1MDB scandal in Malaysia.

“Malaysia would have made world history in discovering a new weapon to cover-up corruption, in particular the 1MDB corruption and money-laundering scandal,” he said.

While there have not been any Malaysians convicted under the Act, Danish national Salah Salem Saleh Sulaiman became the first in the country to be punished under the Act over a YouTube video he had posted regarding the shooting of a supposed Hamas member in April 2018.

On September 12 last year, Dewan Negara president Tan Sri SA Vigneswaran announced the Bill to repeal the law introduced by BN was rejected 28-21, with three abstentions.

The Act, which came into force on April 11 last year, makes it an offence for anyone to create, offer, publish, print, distribute, circulate or disseminate any ‘fake news’ or publication, or to provide financial assistance to the distributors of fake news.

The Act provides a punishment of up to six years’ jail, a maximum RM500,000 fine, or both, for the publication of ‘fake news’.

It was passed under the former BN administration amid fierce criticism from civil society and then PH leaders.

Exactly a year later, law minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong said the government will resubmit the Anti-Fake News (Repeal) Bill to Parliament next month following the expiry of the cooling-off period triggered by its rejection in Dewan Negara.

Source : Malay Mail

Kit Siang: Anti Fake News law must be scrapped

The Anti Fake News Act which was passed only two months ago should be scrapped, says DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang (pic).

“We should repeal the Anti Fake News law as it was passed not to fight fake news but to institutionalise and protect the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal,” he alleged.

He also claimed that the law was passed as a “repressive tool to curb news related to the 1MDB scandal”.

However, “there is a need to fight fake news, be it on social media or published in mainstream media. Fake news must not be allowed to continue unchecked,” he told reporters at a press conference here Wednesday (June 20).

On Tuesday, Lim said that Malaysia needs such a law but added that it must be developed by the media and civil society, according to The Malaysian Insight.

The news portal quoted him as saying that he supported such a law, but was opposed to the one passed by the previous Barisan Nasional government as it was not in the people’s interest.

His comments had come during a visit to the office of Tamil newspaper Tamil Malar, where he was accompanying Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran.

On Wednesday, Lim again urged legal experts, media practitioners and civil society to look again into the issue of fake news to see if there was a need for new laws or whether existing laws could be amended.

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He denied that his call for laws to check fake news was a u-turn by Pakatan Harapan, citing a recent commentary in a Malay daily as an example of fake news where the writer claimed that DAP wanted to do away with the nation’s royal institution.

The Anti Fake News Act was pushed through by the Barisan government and passed in Parliament on April 2 despite protests from Pakatan lawmakers.

The Act was gazetted nine days later with a Danish national being the first to be punished under the new law, over a YouTube video he had posted regarding the shooting of a supposed Hamas member here.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is also being investigated under the same law over his claims that the private jet he was using had been sabotaged to prevent him from spearheading a ceramah during his election campaign.

Source : The Star

It takes a fake government to introduce an anti-fake news law

As though there are not enough draconian legislation in the country, Malaysia has now introduced a new anti-fake news law. By using their simple majority in Parliament with the ever-willing support of PAS, they managed to obtain majority support before it became law.

Despite one or two amendments, the law that was passed contains intact all the ferocious elements that will further render Malaysian society weak and compliant.

Unless, of course, societal forces are ready to challenge this and other draconian legislation that were passed in the past and that are basically anti-democratic and anti-people.

This anti-fake news law is like the proverbial Sword of Damocles that will hang over the heads of Malaysians for some time to come.

It is not so much the issue of enforcement or the infliction of the maximum punishment, but rather how the law will serve as a pernicious deterrent for those who intend to challenge the government of the day by spreading real news and information.

Besides the lingering fear of extreme punishment, the law is meant as a powerful deterrent to those who wish to question those in power on a wide variety of matters including mega-scandals and financial embezzlements in the past.

The law as a deterrent is intended to create fear, panic and anxiety among Malaysians leading to the imposition of self-censorship. This is the intended effect of the law.

Laws merely to safeguard those in power are primarily introduced to produce compliance to ensure that their exercise of political, economic and social power will continue uninterrupted.

There are good and progressive laws intended to regulate and manage society in the best possible terms. However, there are bad and obnoxious ones that are intended to keep certain cliques in power for a long time.

This anti-fake news law is another example of a terrible and ill-intentioned law meant to exercise undemocratic control over society. The present government in power intends to use this law along with others merely to stifle democratic dissent.

These draconian laws have the power to induce an artificial situation where the information dished out by the government of the day becomes the “real’ one.

Thus, at the end of the day, the test of whether a news is fake or not will come to depend on the definition adopted by the government. Apart from the actual source of the information, there is no other source that can determine the authenticity of the news.

Under these circumstances, the government will emerge as the ultimate arbitrator of the “truth”. If this happens, then our society is in big trouble.

Last-ditch effort

The purpose of any law is merely for the reason of deterrence. To prevent something undesirable from happening. It is considered such as undesirable things might be injurious to society.

But in the case of the anti-fake news law, the purpose is to shield those in power from being exposed on a wide variety of matters. As they say, waiting to be killed is worse than to be killed itself.

This is precisely the main intention of this draconian anti-people and anti-democratic legislation that has been inappropriately termed as “anti-fake news law”.

Even a country like India has rejected the introduction of legislation on fake news so why has the Malaysian government under BN been in such a hurry?

Is there a genuine fear that this legislation is a last-ditch effort of the regime to protect itself before going to the coming polls?

Finally, it is assumed that it takes a certain degree of insincerity on the part of those in power to go for this so-called “anti-fake news law”.

Prof P Ramasamy
DEPUTY CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG
Media statement by Prof P Ramasamy in Penang on Wednesday, 4th April 2018

Source : DAP Malaysia

Don’t enforce fake news law on Malaysians, urges DAP senator

DAP senator T Chandra Mohan has asked the government not to use the Anti-Fake News Act on Malaysians after Dewan Negara voted against a motion to repeal it today.

He said the law could still be enforced until another vote is taken in the Dewan Negara again after a year.

“All non-monetary bills can only be brought back to the Dewan Rakyat after a year unless the bill deals with money like SST (sales and services tax) then it would be taken for royal assent ,” he told FMT.

A bill to abolish the act was passed with a simple voice vote last month in the Dewan Rakyat.

Dewan Negara president S.A. Vigneswaran made the announcement after the block voting saw 28 members vote against the motion, compared to 21 who supported it while three others abstained.

Chandra Mohan said the PH government was against the Anti-Fake News Act as there were other laws that could be used against defamation and fake news.

Meanwhile, the National Union of Journalists Peninsular Malaysia (NUJ) has expressed disappointment with the Dewan Negara for rejecting the Anti-Fake News (Abolition) Bill 2018.

“We sincerely hope that the Pakatan Harapan government will bring up the same bill after one year in accordance with Article 68.2(b) of the Federal Constitution,” said general secretary Chin Sung Chew.

He said NUJ supports the move to repeal the Act for the sake of press freedom as there were sufficient laws to deal with fake news.

“Therefore, we don’t need new legislation. NUJ calls upon the bipartisan support for the repeal of the Anti-Fake News Act.”

Meanwhile, Malaysiakini reported that BN senator Khairul Azwan Harun said the law should be improved rather than abolished.

Khairul Azwan said the law was still relevant as even the US elections could be compromised by fake news and the Act targeted misinformation.

“This anti-fake news law should be a protection for the common man, against interests, either local or foreign, that aim to embroil our society in endless, unproductive confrontation,” he said.

Khairul Azwan further said even Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had been a victim of “fake news”.

Source : FMT

DAP Lim Kit Siang : I Will Quit Politics & Not Contest In The 15th GE If Anwar Ibrahim Not Given The Prime Minister Post

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