Zahid deems GE14 as 'crazy season' for fake news, labels it a threat to national security

HIDIR REDUAN, CHE WAN BADRUL ALIAS

KUALA LUMPUR: As the 14th General Election (GE14) looms, fake news proliferate online, heightening the risk of more complex and non-traditional security threats to the nation.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi labelled this period as the “crazy season” as fake news flourishes on the internet.

“Malaysia has seen too many fake news flying back and forth, from south to the north, east to west, which is certainly not the best way (for the counry) to progress.

“Fake news is harmful to the country, and it is the responsibility of the government to neutralise the danger it poses,” he said.

He was speaking during his closing speech at the Putrajaya Forum 2018 “Recalibrating Regional Security Architecture” at the MATRADE Exhibition and Convention Centre here Tuesday afternoon.

Zahid said that fake news must be seen in the context of an evolving threat to national security in the cyber world.


Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi arrives at the Putrajaya Forum 2018 “Recalibrating Regional Security Architecture” at the MATRADE Exhibition and Convention Centre. Pix by Saddam Yusoff

“Today, we are living in an age of cyber dependency, or if I may say that we are living in an era of cyber insecurity.

“Cyber threats in the past few years have vaulted to the top of many governments’ list of concerns,” he said.

Zahid, who is also Home Minister, noted that there is very little distinction between internal and external threats in this new security dimension.

“These threats are intangible in nature, with no borders and involving unseen armies. Thus, keeping pace with this evolving threat requires evolving solutions,” he said.

He pointed out that the line that separates traditional and non-traditional security has blurred, with growing risk posed by non-state actors ranging from international religious extremists to cyber terrorists.

“Issues of extremism, radicalism, terrorism, and all types of transnational organised crimes, have now become the interests of both the Defence and Home Ministries,” he said.

He said that this required all stakeholders to work beyond traditional norms in an efficient and effectively way, that cuts across agencies and sectors, public or private.

“Malaysia can attest to this as we have successfully collaborated with Petronas in establishing a Forward Operating Base (FOB) in the waters of Sabah, by combining resources from the government with the giant oil company.

“Taking off from that experience, private-public partnership is probably the way forward for Asean, in managing its regional security and stability, as this shall bring together all regional experts and representatives across sectors,” he said. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd