DAP calls for a Parliamentary Select Committee on Fake News to decide on fake news laws as well as mechanism to tackle fake news

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Azalina Othman Said, has announced a special committee to formulate laws to tackle fake news; that the committee has been endorsed by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and will include representatives from the police, the Attorney-General’s Chambers and the Communications and Multimedia Ministry.

This announcement will not inspire any public confidence as the Prime Minister and the UMNO/Barisan Nasional both Government and political coalition are the biggest manufacturers of fake news and false information in the country.

It will be like asking thieves to catch thieves!

The best examples of Najib as a mega manufacturer of fake news and false information were his UMNO Presidential speeches in the past two years, where he concocted and disseminated fake news and false information, viz:

  1. That the 14th General Election will be a contest between UMNO and DAP;
  2. That the DAP is anti-Malay or anti-Islam;
  3. The “nightmares” Malay will suffer if UMNO loses power in the next general elections.

Will the special committee on fake news, as announced by Azalina, be empowered to summon Najib to appear before it about these fake news and false information which he perpetrated at the UMNO General Assembly in the past two years and to recommend laws and mechanism to tackle such fake news and false information?

The 14th General Election will not be a battle UMNO vs DAP. It will be a battle between the Barisan Nasional led by UMNO and the Pakatan Harapan coalilion of DAP, PKR, Parti Amanah and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) to save Malaysia from a kleptocracy by defending the founding Constitutional principles of a democratic, just and united plural Malaysia.

DAP is not anti-Malay or anti-Islam. DAP is not a Chinese party as right from the beginning of our formation 50 years ago, we were committed to the principles and vision of a Malaysian party, led by Malaysians and serving the interests of all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region.

Equally shocking is the most irresponsible fake news and false information that the Malays will have “nightmares” if UMNO loses power in 14GE, with Najib trying to create scare and panic among the Malays that they will lose political power to the Chinese.

This is because whatever happens in the 14GE, whether Najib is toppled as Prime Minister or UMNO loses the Federal Government, the Malays in Malaysia will continue to exercise political power in the country as there is no way they will lose their political power - which are the demographic, electoral and political realities in Malaysia.

Azalina said that the “fake news” phenomena would disrupt political stability and threaten public order and national security. It is most ironical that the biggest manufacturer of fake news and the greatest threat to political stability and public security stems from the Prime Minister and the UMNO/BN government themselves.

The fake news phenomenon must be combatted but its must not be weaponised by the authorities, not to combat fake news but to harass and persecute legitimate political opponents – just like the MACC is being weaponised not to combat corruption but to harass and persecute Pakatan Harapan leaders.

Dissolve the present special committee on fake news and form instead a bi-partisan Parliamentary Select Committee on Fake News to decide on the fake news laws and mechanism to tackle fake news.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah