KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 9 — It is unfair for anyone to prejudge the proposed anti-fake news law before the Bill is even finalised, says de facto law minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.
In a statement today, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department stressed that the special committee tasked to form the new law was still in the midst of engaging with stakeholders before any decision can be made by the Cabinet.
‘It is unfair for anyone to have a preconceived notion on the government’s effort because the process is still ongoing and we need everyone’s cooperation to tackle this issue effectively and comprehensively,” the Pengerang MP said in a statement.
Azalina was referring to current Opposition leader Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s criticism against the newly-proposed law, which is expected to be tabled in the next parliamentary sitting.
She said the new law is unlike the now-repealed Internal Security Act (ISA) during Mahathir’s premiership which permitted restriction of freedom of speech and detention without trial.
“I am aggrieved that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad would claim that the formation of the new law is meant to stop the rakyat from criticising the government.
“His claims is irrelevant because fake news is a global issue and many countries are also taking a similar step in eradicating the problem.
“As the former Prime Minister and a member of the parliament for over 20 years, Tun Mahathir should be able to view this without any prejudice as the would-be amendment is decided after taking into consideration the rakyat’s wellbeing and nation’s security,” she said.
She said Dr M should be more rational in weighing the issue at hand as he too could easily fall victim to fake news.
“The proposed legal formation of false news should be welcomed by all parties including the Opposition. The drafting of this law is based on current trends and its great impact on the country,” she said.