The Anti-Fake News Bill is in fact a Save Najib from 1MDB Scandal Bill which will criminalise all news about 1MDB scandal in Malaysia available worldwide and punishable as “fake news”
The 13th Parliament is treated with utter contempt in this last parliamentary meeting and the world is watching how a Parliament in a global kleptocracy is reduced into a farce and charade.
Yesterday, the constituency redelineation report of the Election Commission was rammed through Parliament, without giving MPs any time or opportunity whatsoever to get public feedback or seek public consultation on the Election Commission’s new constituency redelineation proposals, which made a mockery of the constitutional principles of one man, one vote, one value and an independent Election Commission which commands the confidence of Malaysians – just to maintain Malaysia as a global kleptocracy.
Today, Parliament is asked to pass the Anti-Fake News Bill which is nothing but a Save Najib from 1MDB Scandal Bill, which will criminalise all news about the 1MDB scandal in Malaysia which is available worldwide and punishable as fake news with excessive penalties of RM500,000 fine, 10 years jail or both.
I have been a victim of fake news and false information for decades, demonizing me as anti-Malay, anti-Islam; cause of May 13 riots in Kuala Lumpur in 1969 when I was never in Kuala Lumpur during the relevant period; agent of foreign powers one and the same time, agent of CIA, M16, KGB and Australian Intelligence; having received RM1 billion from Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to allow the entry of PPBM into Pakatan Harapan, received RM100 million from Malaysian tycoon Robert Kuok, financed a news portal with RM40 million, received more than a billion ringgit from Israeli sources, and other monstrous and evil lies.
Are the Income Tax department and the Special Branch in Malaysia so inefficient, incompetent and unprofessional to allow such dastardly activities to take place in the past few decades without knowing about them?
It is of course impossible. In fact, Malaysia has one of the most competent, efficient and top-class Special Branch in the world, and the Special Branch professionals know these fake news and false information about me are just downright lies – the handiwork of the UMNO/BN propagandists and well-funded quinoa cybertroopers.
Will all these people who concoct and peddle these fake news and false information about me be arrested, prosecuted and punished with half-a-million ringgit fine or 10 years’ jail or both?
Of course not. These criminals will continue to enjoy good pay, perks and privileges from the powers-that-be.
False news must be exposed and combated but not by the Anti-Fake News Bill, which even the Suhakam Chairman, Tan Sri Razali Ismail has warned would have enormous implications and could inspire an authoritarian form of government.
As the Suhakam Chairman has rightly pointed out, the government’s track record in utilising laws for reasons other than its intended purpose is arguably questionable and the proposed law could be used to exert control on the media and worsen Malaysia’s standing on the Reporters Without Border’s World Press Freedom Index. Malaysia ranked 144th out of 180 countries in the 2017 index.
Should one of the last acts of the 13th Parliament be to enact a law which will be a new weapon to cover-up corruption, to entrench Malaysia’s 3Is – ignominy, infamy and iniquity – as a global kleptocracy?
I find no assurance in the statement by the Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak when he met foreign correspondents that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) filings on 1MDB won't be considered fake news.
Would the local media be liable for prosecution under the Anti-Fake News Act for publishing the 1MDB reports of foreign publications?
Clearly, the Anti-Fake News Bill is in fact a Save Najib from 1MDB Scandal Bill, as the Deputy Minister for Communications and Multimedia, Datuk Jailani Johari had let the cat out of the bag when he told Parliament last week that any information related to 1MDB not verified by government authorities is considered “fake news”.
Jailani had said that the general definition of fake news is ”news confirmed as false by authorities with expertise in the matter”.
Wouldn’t this mean that all media which carried such “unverified” news about the 1MDB scandal which appeared in foreign publications would be open to prosecution under the Anti-Fake News Act?
In any event, the assurance of the Minister of Communications and Multimedia that the US DOJ fillings on 1MDB won't be considered fake news is not worth a single sen for it will not prevent any Attorney-General from proceeding to prosecute anyone under the Anti-Fake News Act, for publishing the US DoJ filings on the 1MDB scandal, as it is “unverified” information and therefore fake news - unless such an assurance is written into the Anti-Fake News Bill!
The Anti-Fake Ness Bill defines “fake news” as including any news, information, data and reports which, in part or wholly, are false, whether in the form of features, visuals or audio recordings or any other form capable of suggesting words or ideas.
There is no doubt that the statement by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, last week that he has been cleared by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of any wrongdoing in the 1MDB scandal is completely baseless and unfounded and fits 100 per cent into the definition of “fake news” in the Anti-Fake News Bill.
I had challenge the Prime Minister in the past week and even sent an email to him to quote chapter and verse in the PAC Report on 1MDB which was tabled in Parliament in April 2016 which cleared him of any wrongdoing in the 1MDB scandal.
I am prepared to attend any news conference or event presided by Najib for him to quote chapter and verse from the PAC report which cleared him of wrongdoing in the 1MDB scandal.
One newspaper headline of Najib’s speech at the launch of the National Transformation Programme (NTP) report yesterday said: “PAC didn't say I stole from 1MDB, says PM”.
This is another irresponsible fake-news, as the PAC Report also did not say that Najib did not steal from 1MDB.
Let me extend my challenge to all Barisan Nasional Ministers and MPs to show where in the PAC Report on 1MDB is Najib absolved of any wrongdoing in the 1MDB scandal, specifically described by the United States Attorney-General Jeff Sessions as “kleptocracy at its worst”?
Jeff Sessions had told a global conference on asset recovery as recently as December last year that 1MDB-linked assets accounted for nearly half of some US$3.5 billion in total proceeds seized or restrained by the US Department of Justice (DoJ), tied to money-laundering offences.
Sessions said alleged that “corrupt officials” in 1MDB had spent US$200 million on real estate in Southern California and New York, US$130 million on artwork, invested US$100 million in an American music label and US$265 million on a yacht.
“In total, 1MDB officials allegedly laundered more than US$4.5 billion in funds through a complex web of opaque transactions and fraudulent shell companies with bank accounts in countries ranging from Switzerland and Singapore to Luxembourg and the United States,” Sessions said.
But the Malaysian authorities, including the Inspector-General of Police and the Chief Commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, claim complete ignorance and show apathy about the US$1.7 billion in assets stolen from 1MDB, and which are subjects of several forfeiture lawsuits by the US DoJ, with the US Attorney-General giving the commitment to provide “justice to the victims”.
It is a sad and shameful day for Malaysia that we have to depend on foreign countries to provide “justice” to the 30 million Malaysians, who are the real victims of the 1MDB scandal – when the Malaysian government should be in the forefront to provide justice for the victims of the 1MDB scandal.
Let me ask the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman whether the Prime Minister will be the first to be charged under the Anti-Fake News Act 2018 for the fake news that he has been cleared by Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of any wrongdoing in the 1MDB scandal when the Bill is passed by Parliament?
Let Azalina give this answer with the full endorsement by the Attorney-General and the Inspector-General of Police, which would mean that the police would be arresting Najib for the crime of false news so that the first test case of this new law in the courts would be the Prime Minister himself being charged under the Anti-False News Act 2018!
I call on UMNO/Barisan Nasional MPs to heed the great rumblings in the deep bowels of Malaysian society, including UMNO and Malay community, that things are not right with Malaysia, especially with regard to the great shame that the international multi-billion dollar 1MDB money-laundering scandal has brought to Malaysia by giving the nation a virtual instant epithet of a global kleptocracy.
These rumblings first surfaced publicly early this month after the seizure of 1MDB mastermind Jho Low’s billion-ringgit luxury superyacht Equanimity by the Indonesian authorities and FBI in Bali at the end last month.
Former International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz broke the ice when publicly lamented in her FaceBook about the Malaysian government becoming the modern-day Malaysian “Emperor with New Clothes”, asking why the Malaysian authorities had not been able to find 1MDB mastermind Jho Low’s billion-ringgit luxury superyacht when she herself could spot it while on a diving trip in Thailand.
This was followed by the tweet of the former Information Minister, Tan Sri Rais Yatim asking why the Minister for Communications and Multimedia, Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak was so hasty in defending Jho Low instead of defending justice with regard to the seizure of the luxury superyacht Equanimity.
UMNO Veterans Club secretary Mustaha Yaakub joined in the public rumbling, declaring that the supporters of Jho Low as those who betrayed the country and UMNO, as Jho Low was responsible for the 1MDB scandal and that action should be taken against him.
The public rumbling and cries from the heart from the deep bowels of UMNO and Malay society elicited not sympathy and concern from those in power in UMNO and Barisan Nasional, but led to a spate of savage and malicious attacks (reminiscent of the recent attacks on Malaysian tycoon Robert Kuok) by UMNO/BN propagandists and quinoa cybetroopers.
But this has not cowed either Rais or Rafidah who stuck to their guns in their criticism of UMNO Ministers and leaders for becoming apologists and defenders of 1MDB scandal and the 1MDB mastermind Jho Low.
Heed the warning of Rafidah who cautioned Malaysians not to vote for corrupt politicians, as that would be tantamount to an endorsement of their wrongdoings.
She warned Malaysians would be “accomplices” to acts of corruption and treachery if they wilfully voted for corrupt politicians.
Will Malaysian MPs heed these warnings from deep bowels of Malaysian society and from UMNO veterans?
In September 2016, I had called for a special session of Parliament to empower an all-party parliamentary delegation to the UN General Assembly to purge and cleanse Malaysia of international indictment as an overnight global kleptocracy
The Barisan Nasional Strategic Communications Director and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan, had told the world in his interview with BBC that “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1” in the US DoJ kleptocratic litigation on 1MDB-linked assets was none other than Prime Minister Najib, after saying earlier that “only an idiot doesn’t know who that person was”.
There seem to be many “idiots” in high levels of government in Malaysia, including the Attorney-General, the Inspector-General of Police, the MACC Chief Commissioner, Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament.
This is reason enough for a change of Federal Government in Putrajaya in the 14GE as Malaysia does not want to have idiots in high positions in the country but hard-working and competent patriots!
I said yesterday that having been in Parliament for four decades since 1969, except for a break during the 10th Parliament, I have never felt more ashamed as a MP, as the 13th Parliament had done nothing to protect the nation’s international reputation and good name tarnished by the 1MDB scandal and epithet of a global kleptocracy.
How can Parliament be indifferent or nonchalant to the international indictment of Malaysia as a overnight global kleptocracy?
How can the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) act so cowardly and irresponsibly in not re-opening investigations into the 1MDB scandal when the US Department of Justice (DoJ) instituted kleptocratic proceedings in July 2016 to forfeit 1MDB-linked assets in the United States, United Kingdom and Switzerland, which showed that the PAC had committed grave omissions or been grossly misled in its earlier investigation into the 1MDB, submitting its report in April 2016.
Are MPs prepared to do their patriotic duty, to stop being “idiots”, and to subordinate their personal interests of national interests to purge and cleanse Malaysia’s international reputation and good name from the 3Is – infamy, ignominy and iniquity – of a global kleptocracy.
If so, then withdraw this bill today and refer it to a Parliamentary Select Committee as suggested by the Suhakam Chairman, and let us purge and cleanse Malaysia of the infamy, ignominy and iniquity of a global kleptocracy.