KUALA LUMPUR: There are sufficient provisions under the current laws to deal with fake news, said Malaysian Bar president George Varughese.
“We have not seen exactly what the proposed legislation will look like, but I believe there are sufficient legislations, whether it is the Communications and Multimedia Act (1998) or the Penal Code itself, to take care of issues of this nature,” he said at the opening of the Malaysian Bar’s new building – Wisma Badan Peguam Malaysia – here yesterday.
He was asked to comment on the Government’s intention to enact a law to curb fake news. Pressed on whether he meant it was not necessary to have such laws, he said: “There may be elements not covered in other Acts. It is too early for me to comment.
“As it stands, with the current provisions, under the Penal Code and other legislations, I think there are sufficient legislations in place to cater to issues of this nature.”
Meanwhile, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said wrote on her Facebook page that the proposal to enact a law to combat fake news has received positive reactions from many parties, including from the Opposition.
She said that the drafting of the new Act is still in its early stages, and that a special committee has been formed to hold consultations with relevant stakeholders.
“It is unjust for any party to judge the Government’s efforts in this matter as the drafting is still in progress and the cooperation of all parties is needed to address this issue effectively and comprehensively,” she said.
Azalina also urged Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad “not to worry”, as the proposed law to combat fake news will not be like the now-defunct Internal Security Act.
Azalina said this in reference to Dr Mahathir’s criticism of the proposed law, saying that it should not be used by the Government to block critical news.