New laws to curb fake news different from ISA

NEW legislation to curb the dissemination of fake news is different from the Internal Security Act (ISA), which curtails freedom of speech and allows for detention without trial, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said today.

She said the proposal to formulate the new laws should be welcomed by everyone, including the opposition, as it was made based on the current trend and its significant impact on the country.

Expressing her regret at Pakatan Harapan chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s statement that the new laws were aimed at preventing the people from criticising the government, Azalina said: “This is a global issue, and foreign countries, too, are taking similar measures to combat it.”

She emphasised that the formulation of the new legislation had yet to be finalised.

She said the special committee that had been set up to study the new laws was consulting and discussing with stakeholders, before the matter could be finalised in a cabinet meeting.

“Therefore, it is not fair for anyone to pass judgment on the noble efforts of the government because the process is ongoing and the cooperation of everyone is required to tackle the issue effectively and comprehensively.”

Azalina said Dr Mahathir, as a former prime minister and former MP, should look at the effort without prejudice as it was aimed ensuring national prosperity and security.

She said anyone could fall victim to fake news, including Dr Mahathir himself.

“Fake news is also perceived as a new war strategy that can destroy the country, merely through one’s fingertips.”