Action only against fake news, not criticism — Saifuddin


PUTRAJAYA: Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah (pix) has given an assurance that action under the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance (No.2) 2021 will be taken against those involved in spreading false news about Covid-19 and the Proclamation of Emergency, and not because of criticism.

He said his ministry (KKMM) listened to the views and criticisms of various parties, whether members of opposition parties, non-governmental organisations or the Malaysian Human Rights Commission, who expressed concern about the ordinance.

“I would like to reiterate that this ordinance on untrue news is not at all intended for politicians. If he (politician) criticises me or the government in relation to matters involving vaccines or the ordinance, that criticism is different from fake news.

“We will make sure that the action taken is on fake news, not criticism. In matters of democracy, it is possible to criticise but if it involves fake news, then no matter who spreads it, anyone can be hit (receive action),“ he told reporters after the launch of the book “Respecting National Emblems” and KKMM’s one-year report card, here, today.

Saifuddin said the ordinance was aimed at protecting the public from being deceived by fake news instead of saving the government (from criticism).

Saifuddin said the ordinance was only to protect the people from being deceived by untrue news that discourages them from registering for the Covid-19 vaccine because they were deceived by allegations that the Chinese-made vaccines used illegal substances and that vaccines from other countries were unsafe.

“We want to protect the people from being deceived by fake news. The question of wanting to criticise the government, me or KKMM is a democracy matter, that is not our goal,“ he said.

On Kuala Langat member of parliament Datuk Dr Xavier Jayakumar who quit PKR for allegedly being pressured, Saifuddin spontaneously said: “First, it has nothing to do with Covid-19, second it has nothing to do with the Emergency, so I will not take action.”

He said Xavier’s stand, which expressed support for Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin despite not joining any party in the Perikatan Nasional, should be respected.

On Saturday, Xavier resigned as vice-president and PKR member with immediate effect after being with the party since 1998, saying that he was frustrated with the actions of some parties who continue to discuss the election when the main focus should be helping the people and tackling the Covid-19 pandemic. — Bernama



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