KUALA LUMPUR, Sep 12 — Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong condemned the rejection of the Anti-Fake News Bill 2018 repeal by the Dewan Negara as going against the spirit of the rakyat.
Liew, who is also Law Minister, said that the rejection of the repeal is a serious issue which carries negative consequences.
“Although the unelected senators have a constitutional right (in rejecting the bill’s appeal) yet utilising said rights disrupts the integrity of the Dewan Rakyat, whose members were elected by the rakyat,” he said in a statement.
Liew said the right to reject bills should be carried out based on the rakyat and country’s interests, and not for personal political agendas.
“Many of the senators who opposed the repeal are from BN, forming a majority in the Dewan Rakyat. This is a clear indication that their opposition to the repeal is due to their own political agenda.
“BN’s loss in the 14th general election in May is the root cause of their intent to weaken the PH government,” he said.
Liew said the Bill was tabled during the previous administration, in a rushed manner without consulting and comprehensively discussing with the relevant parties. He added it was met with a great deal of opposition and negative reaction from the media and the public.
“The Bill was seen as suppressing the freedom of speech for media practitioners. Thus the Dewan Negara’s decision to reject its repeal runs contrary to the wishes of both the public and various others including NGOs,” he said.
Earlier today, during the Dewan Negara proceedings, president Tan Sri SA Vigneswaran announced 28 members voted against the repeal, with 21 in support and three others abstaining from the vote.
There are 68 senators in the Dewan Negara — 19 from Pakatan Harapan (PH); 13 from Sabahan and Sarawakian parties, Gerakan, Indian Progressive Front, and representatives from the disabled, Siam, Orang Asli, and Hindraf groups; 33 from Barisan Nasional (Umno, MCA and MIC); and three from PAS.
Most of the Sabahan and Sarawakian parties are allied with the PH federal government.
Only 52 out of 68 senators participated in the bloc vote today.