DPM: Laws to curb fake news not meant to conceal the truth

By Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin
Home Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi said Anwar's release is calculated based on the Prison Act 1995 and the Prisons Regulations 2000. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 8 — Laws being drafted to curb the spread of fake news is not meant to conceal the truth from the people, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today.

When questioned if the new laws were drafted with intentions to hide information from the people, Ahmad Zahid denied the allegations.

“No, not at all, not as bad as them,” he said while taking a swipe at the Opposition.

He then questioned the authenticity of several news stories that were shared during the last general elections (GE13), implying they were fake news.

“What is the truth and what was the truth before GE13?

“Is the 40,000 Bangladeshi nationals brought to Malaysia not fake news?” he questioned after attending the Home Ministry’s monthly assembly in Putrajaya this morning.

Ahmad Zahid was responding to Opposition leaders who had suggested the new laws being proposed to curb abuse of freedom of speech and fake news were meant to hide the truth.

“Is that the truth we want to portray again?

“There will surely be fake news, in their (Opposition) last minute campaign strategy, I am sure,” he said.

The special committee on fake news was formed on January 30, following an announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak that a law needs to be introduced to curb fake news as people could be incited to hate the government or cause public disorder.