KUALA Lumpur: The Dewan Rakyat passes the Anti Fake News Bill 2018 today through a bloc vote at its policy stage with 123 in favour and 64 against.
Kapar Member of Parliament G.Manivannan had called for the bloc voting.
Several amendments were made to the Bill including the jail sentence from 10 to 6 years but the fine remains as RM500, 000 and replacing the word “knowingly” to “maliciously”.
The Bill will then be presented at the Dewan Negara.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said, 12 issues were outlined by the MPs during the two days debate.
“The issues included claims that the Bill was to restrict freedom of speech, the government is rushing to introduce the law, the Bill is draconian, and meant to prepare for the upcoming general election,
redundancy of laws, fake news definition, draconian punishment, who defines fake news and selective prosecution,” she said when winding the heated debates on the Bill amongst MP’s since Thursday.
Azalina also mentioned that only the court will decide who is subjected to be punished under the “Anti Fake News Law” while the government is not empowered to do so.
She explained, the “Anti Fake News law” will also involve international platform like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and as such any download of articles or items would require a court order.
“That is the main reason for the Anti Fake News law to be formulated to enable the people who need to seek the court’s help in pursuing their cases either in Malaysia or abroad are eligible to do so,” she stressed.
She also said that the law is not intended to restrict freedom of speech but to restrict the dissemination of fake news as mentioned in the explanatory statement of the Bill.
The first reading of the Bill was on March 26 and it proposed a maximum fine of RM500, 000 and imprisonment not exceeding 10 years or both upon conviction for creating or spreading fake news.
The Bill says that any person who by any means, creates, offers, publishes, prints, distributes, circulates or disseminate any fake news or publication containing fake news is liable to punishment.