EARLIER this month, Dewan Negara voted 28 against 21 to reject the repeal of the Anti-Fake News Act (AFNA). Twenty-eight senators from Barisan Nasional and PAS defended the law and said instead of a repeal, the government should have proposed amendments. The repeal bill will now return to the Dewan Rakyat for re-tabling.
Until then, and unless the Pakatan Harapan government introduces a moratorium on the law, “knowingly” creating and spreading “fake news” will still be a crime in Malaysia. There is nothing to stop anyone from filing complaints under the law. Targets of these complaints could include the same political parties that obstructed the repeal of what is fundamentally a problematic piece of legislation.