MPs weigh in on Bill in lively debate


  • Nation
  • Friday, 30 Mar 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: The Anti-Fake News Bill 2018 sparked a lively debate in the Dewan Rakyat.

Kicking off the debate was Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (Pribumi-Pagoh).

“This Act will restrict the freedom of the media to publish news, especially those not in line with the official Government’s stand.

“Those running media outlets or portals that are free from the Government’s control will be targeted by this Act,” he said.

He added that there would no longer be any news critical of the Government, as publishers would fear that such news would be deemed fake and result in them being charged in court.

His speech sparked an argument between Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (BN-Pasir Salak) and a few Opposition MPs, including Dr Ong Kian Ming (DAP-Segambut) and Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong).

The argument started when Taj­uddin interjected during Muhyid­din’s speech, citing reports by the Wall Street Journal and other foreign publications on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Tajuddin proceeded to tell Muh­yiddin his thoughts on 1MDB and the importance of respecting the law of Malaysia when he was interrupted by Dr Ong.

“Are you making a speech or asking for clarification?” asked Dr Ong.

“What the heck are you talking about?” said Tajuddin, to which Dr Ong replied, “Who the heck are you?”

In another instance, Gobind Singh said to Tajuddin: “You are a stupid person.”

“You think you are so clever?” was Tajuddin’s reply.

Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Seri Ismail Mohamed Said later disallowed further interruptions to Muhyiddin’s speech after the arguments took out too much of his allowed time for his speech.

Datuk Noor Ehsanuddin Mohd Harun Narrashid (BN-Kota Tinggi) cited the US occupation of Iraq to show the devastation fake news could bring to a country.

“The former US president said Iraq was in possession of weapons of mass destruction and that claim gave them the licence to attack Iraq, which led to many deaths,” he said.

Noor Ehsanuddin was interrupted by Khalid Samad (Amanah-Shah Alam), who questioned whether the existence of the Bill in the past could have prevented the Iraq occupation from happening.

“I know Khalid doesn’t support this Bill. Its okay, but what I want to emphasise here is the existence of an environment that enabled fake news to spread so blatantly.

“That’s why we need to craft a law that can address this issue for everyone, including Shah Alam (Khalid) and Permatang Pauh (Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail),” he said.

The debates will resume next Monday.

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