KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has dismissed an application for leave for a judicial review by Mkini Dotcom Sdn Bhd challenging the Anti-Fake News Act 2018 as unconstitutional, null and void and has no effect.
High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Justice Azizah Nawawi said the Act was a penal law which creates a criminal offence for any person and such person is liable to a fine not exceeding RM500,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six years or both.
Justice Azizah ruled the applicant has not been charged for an offence under the Act.
She said therefore the issue here was whether the application, a preemptive move by the applicant to strike down the Act, was premature and the applicant has no locus standi.
She made the order after allowing preliminary objections raised by the Government and the Home Minister on Wednesday (June 6).
The judge ordered costs of RM5,000 to be paid to the respondents.
Met by reporters after the decision in chambers, Mkini Dotcom's lawyer N. Surendran said they would appeal.
Mkini Dotcom Sdn Bhd has filed leave for a judicial review on April 27 this year and has named the Government and Home Minister as the respondents.
It sought a declaration that the Anti-Fake News Act violates Article 5(1) and 10(1) of the Federal Constitution read with Article 8(1) of the Constitution.
It said fake news was defined in the Act as "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".
In an affidavit-in-support, Mkini Dotcom chief executive officer and director Premesh Chandran said the applicant is a company which owns and operates an online news portal known as Malaysiakini which now has 69 staff members.
He said the new law has acted to remove the defence of reportage that is being used by the applicant.
The Anti-Fake News Act was passed in Parliament on April 2 and went into effect on April 11.
However, on May 28 Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo.
said his Ministry was in the midst of preparing the paperwork to abolish the Act in the first sitting of the new Parliament following GE14.