KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 7 — Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador has advised Malaysians to stay away and not waste their lives away spending time disseminating unverified and fake news surrounding the spread of the novel coronavirus.
He said the spreading of such fake news could cause unnecessary panic among the people, with the consequences of such actions being inconvenient and unsavoury, especially if they are remanded in police lockups.
“The food in the lockups is not tasty, for your information the government only allocates per person around RM14 (remanded), so imagine what you can get.
“It is not enough RM14, so you can imagine the ration that gets you, that is how you live in the lockup, so don’t do these sort of things (spreading fake news) and let the lockups be filled with hardened criminals,” he said.
Hamid questioned the motives of those spreading fake news on social media and messaging platforms, and instead advised them to stop wasting their time and indulge in more beneficial activities.
“Yesterday there was a post about a ship that supposedly docked in Kuala Linggi, and it said the ship was from Wuhan, mentioned as they pleased.
“They are not a port master or anything related; why do they want to spread such news. This will cause panic,” he said after attending the duty handover ceremony of the Bukit Aman Narcotics Criminal Investigation Department (NCID) at the Police Training Centre here this morning.
The head of the force added how the police have also received assurance from the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) that swift prosecutions will take place against cases that have been fully investigated and are found to have committed an offence.
“I have received assurance from the AGC that whichever case that has completed their investigation papers, we will escalate the matter to them and the AGC will immediately charge them, so don’t waste your time,” he warned.
This as the virus outbreak that began in the Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei province last December has quickly become a dreaded contagion the world over in just two months, infecting tens of thousands and killing over 560 people to date.
The mass infection in China has however affected the local social media streams, as Malay Mail reported today how fake news and fear-mongering websites have triggered unnecessary panic among the people, as whole lies and half-truths are sometimes consumed at face value without being properly verified.