Takiyuddin says such claims are an offence under the new fake news emergency ordinance.
Claiming that the government sought an emergency declaration because it lost its majority in the Dewan Rakyat violates the fake news ordinance, said de facto Law Minister Takiyuddin Hassan.
“It is an offence. To me, it is an offence,” Takiyuddin (above) said at a joint press conference to explain the fake news ordinance.
He said this when asked if critics claiming that the government sought an emergency declaration because it lost its majority was considered fake news.
The ordinance makes spreading “fake news” on Covid-19 or the emergency punishable by up to RM100,000 or up to three-year imprisonments, or both.
The emergency was declared by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Jan 12 on the advice of cabinet.
Officially, it is to help the government curb the spread of Covid-19. At the time, there were around 2,000 to 3,000 cases being reported daily.
However, critics have questioned why Parliament was also suspended under the emergency – and continues to be closed despite businesses and schools re-opening.
The declaration came two days after the Perikatan Nasional government lost majority control of the Dewan Rakyat, after Umno’s Machang MP Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub withdrew support.
On the same day the emergency was declared, Umno’s Padang Rengas MP Nazri Abdul Aziz also withdrew support from the PN government.
The government has since secured the defections of two PKR MPs to make up for the support deficit after the King said Parliament can reconvene during the emergency.
While answering the fake news question, Takiyuddin stressed that once the King had declared the emergency on the cabinet’s advice, it is final and can’t be challenged in any court.
Meanwhile, Communications and Multimedia Minister Saifuddin Abdullah – who was also at the presser – said another example of fake news is claiming that an individual died after taking the Covid-19 vaccine.
Takiyuddin and Saifuddin stressed that under the ordinance, the intent to spread fake news must be proven before an accused is punished.
By : YASMIN RAMLAN & ALYAA ALHADJRI – MALAYSIAKINI