Anti-Fake News Act comes into force today

Datuk Seri Najib Razak gives a speech during the inaugural National Journalists’ Day in Kuala Lumpur April 11, 2018. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Datuk Seri Najib Razak gives a speech during the inaugural National Journalists’ Day in Kuala Lumpur April 11, 2018. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, April 11 — Putrajaya’s recently passed law against so-called “fake news” has been gazetted, caretaker prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced today.

Najib said Parliament’s passing of the new law showed that the federal government was serious about combating the problem of fake news amid the development of modern technology that enabled speedy communications.

“I am glad to inform that just a short while ago I was informed by the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department that the Anti-Fake News Act 2018 has received the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s assent and has been gazetted today,” he said at the event to set the inaugural National Journalists’ Day.

This comes as the Attorney-General Chambers announced earlier today that the Act has legally come into operation with immediate effect.

In a statement by caretaker minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said explained the law will be enforced from today.

“In exercise of powers conferred by subsection 1(2) of the Anti-Fake News Act 2018, the minister appoints April 11, 2018 as the date on which the Act comes into operation,” the statement read.

The Act was tabled in the now dissolved Dewan Rakyat in March which was followed by heated debate.

It was later voted through by members of parliament following a bloc vote, with 123 voting for and 64 against.

Malaysia’s Anti-Fake News Act 2018 is probably only the second time such a law against false news and slander has been enacted by a government, after Germany’s Net Enforcement Act passed last year.

The announcement comes barely a month before the country prepares to cast their votes in its 14th general election.

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