Archive for the 'Media' Category

16
Apr
18

Concerns on the Anti-Fake News Bill 2018

AFN Bill: An open letter to Azalina Othman Said

COMMENT | Dear Datuk Seri, I hope this finds you well. My name is Aiman, I am 33 years old, currently residing in Kampung Masjid, Beserah, Kuantan. I was called to write you this open letter to air out some concerns I have regarding the new bill that you tabled in the Parliament – the Anti-Fake News Bill 2018.

Since the first reading on Monday, much coverage has been given on this bill, by both the national media, as well as the alternative media. However, there are some parts of the bill that I do not understand. The extent of my education in law is just the basics of Business Law, which was a compulsory subject when I was doing my bachelor’s degree, and even that, I couldn’t understand the whole thing.

So as the de-facto minister in charge of law, I think that I should address it to you and ask you personally, rather than make my own speculations, since even after reading the articles and commentaries for and against the bill, I still cannot fully understand the by-lines in the bill.

1. What constitutes a ‘Fake News?’

According to the interview conducted by the New Straits Times (NST) on March 26, 2018, you mentioned that the bill defines fake news as any news, information, data and report, either a part of, or wholly false, whether in an article, visual or audio recording or in any form that can visualise words or ideas. So my first question would be, what constitutes as “fact” or “real news” in accordance with the bill? If a news report or article is written with physical, testimonial, empirical and statistical facts, will it be accepted as “real news”?

2. Who determines what is fake and what is fact?

Should a minister, deputy minister, or anyone from the ministry come up with a statement that totally contradicts a report by any branch of the statutory body, whose word should the citizens treat as “fact” and whose word should the citizen treat as “fake”? For example, if a report released by Bank Negara directly contradicts a statement by a minister, the citizen should know whose words we need to take as fact. We need to know who determines and defines what is fake and what is fact?

In the example above, would the minister or Bank Negara be charged under this proposed Act?

3. Would investigative journalism be categorised as fake news?

If a journalist who investigates an individual or an organisation has two or more credible sources and able to present evidence to support their reporting, but the investigated individual or organisation categorically denies the report, can and will the journalist be penalised under the Anti-Fake News Act 2018?

4. Would satirical works be considered fake news?

Would artistic works – paintings, sculpture, mixed-media, caricature, literature, plays, music, dance, and film – that criticise or satirically portray individuals or organisations, be considered fake news?

5. Religious preachers

Would works and words of religious preachers – videos, theological literature, audio recordings, et cetera – be considered fake news? Religion is by the end of the day, is based on faith, not necessarily fact, thus, could easily fall under the definition that the bill proposes – either part or wholly false – since there’s still a myriad of things in religion that still couldn’t be proven, historically and scientifically.

Because as of today, we are still basing our faith on books and words of “messengers” or “divine beings” who lived hundreds and thousands of years ago, the actual existence of some who are yet to be proven.

Even today, we have people claiming that they have received “divine” inspiration to either run for public office or are waiting for “divine” inspiration to call for an election. Some even claim that God spoke to them. Personally, I would like to ask them what does God’s voice sound like and how did God speak to them. I would also like to ask if they have ever sought professional psychiatric help, instead of taking their word as fact, but that’s just me. Can and will the individuals who make all these ludicrous claims be charged under this bill?

6. Damning, unsubstantiated statements

Will bigoted and one-sided reports, articles, forums or statements on foreign workers, immigrants, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community, Orang Asal, and minority ethnic groups or any other minority groups be considered as fake news?

As we draw closer to the upcoming general election, I think we could all expect reports, articles or statements like “The Rocket party is trying to establish a Christian nation!” or “The Eclipse party is trying to push for an LGBTQ agenda!” or “The Keris party is the only salvation for the Malays!”. Do they all fall into the fake news category? Because as far as we are all concerned, no one is trying to establish a Christian nation, as it is clearly stated that we are a secular state.

No one is definitely pushing for any LGBTQ agenda, heck, no party is even fighting for their basic human rights; and lastly, as a human being who happens to fall under the Malay ethnicity, I don’t think any political party can bring me salvation. If anything, hard work and perseverance are the way to salvation, in my humble opinion.

7. International reports

What are we Malaysians to do with international reports on Malaysia? Reports on 1MDB, EC’s (Election Commission) redelineation and the present-day government’s attempt to gerrymander, are very much covered by the international press and media.

There are even ongoing court cases on 1MDB in at least seven countries – are we as citizens supposed to ignore all these facts and information?

Pasir Salak MP said in a parliamentary session during the second tabling of the motion for this act that Malaysia should be governed by the law of our land – Malaysian courts and legal system – in which I am in total agreement with, but what are we to do when the present-day government refuses to even talk or acknowledge the reports?

The response that we get from the government is that all these news are “fake news” or that these foreign nations and press have hidden agenda, but what is their hidden agenda? Or is the present-day government trying to indicate that these countries are somehow victims of some elaborate false evidence conspiracy?

How is it possible for the Indonesian government and the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) to have found the infamous yacht that was supposedly bought using the sovereign fund intended for Malaysians when the Royal Malaysian Police have failed to do so? Being the son of a former police officer, I refuse to believe that the Malaysian police, with their vast intelligence network, was not able to locate the yacht or the “owner”.

I refuse to believe that the Malaysian police is that incompetent, and I sincerely hope that I am not wrong in that assumption. On top of that, our local mainstream media failed to report the seizure, in fact, none of them even acknowledged it in their reporting the very next day.

Thankfully, Indonesia’s Tempo reported it. Are we, under this proposed bill, able to safely categorise this report by Tempo which was founded by Goenawan Muhammad, as fake news?

8. Existing act

You also mentioned in the same NST interview that the existing laws, such as the libel law under the Penal Code, the Printing Presses and Publication Act, and the Communications and Multimedia Act, are incapable to address the nature of increasingly complex offences in line with rapid technological progress. Ergo, why not table amendments to the existing laws instead of introducing a totally new bill with such vague definition of what constitutes as fake news?

Amendments to other laws have been done before in the Parliament. Why not this time? What’s the rush?

9. What does this mean for our freedom of speech?

Since the bill covers all medium and platform, what can we the people expect of our right to the freedom of speech? Should I, in my social media posting, write “I do not and will not support Mr NR because I don’t think that he is just, intelligent, nor is he a good leader for Malaysia”, or “The plight that we are facing today is caused by Mr MM’s failure to pave way for better leadership in Malaysia”. Will I be penalised for voicing out my opinion in a public sphere?

Should any Malaysian living abroad share a news report that they read in that country, which is damning to Malaysia, and voice out their concern, will they be penalised too? Where is the protection of our freedom of speech then? Where is our freedom to voice out our opinion? Where is our right to be concerned? Where is our right to disagree?

How can we claim to be a free society if we don’t respect the people’s right to free speech and expression without the fear of retaliation, censorship or sanction?

Even online trolls, whom I fundamentally disagree with, and utterly despise, especially the way they harass and abuse other people – I would still not take away their right to voice out their opinion, although I sincerely hope that they would do away with their obscene name calling and slanderous abuse. For the most part, Malaysians do not stoop to their level of intelligence, but even the trolls are but a small price to pay for a free society.

Please, do not, for one second think that people who disagree with you are unpatriotic. Not one Malaysian that I know hate this land; what we hate is the oppressive way we are being governed; what we hate is the way we are continuously being segregated; what we hate is the way we are made to feel that we are never good enough for this country; what we hate is the way Malaysia is becoming a laughing stock; what we hate is how the leadership promotes discourse among the people instead of bringing us closer; what we hate is how corruption, nepotism, and criminal cover-ups are ruining and tearing this country apart; what we hate is that we are being made fools by the very people we elected to represent us.

As you can see Datuk Seri, these are just some of the concerns I have regarding the bill, I could list out more hypothetical scenarios, but I wouldn’t want to take more of your time, and I think you already get the picture that I am trying to show you.

The bill’s vague and broad definition could easily include honest and marginal mistakes, as well as statements that may be a matter of opinion. You can see why I would think that the bill was designed to safeguard the present-day government, instead of Malaysian citizens, as it will justify the government’s future action to hunt down journalists, human right activists and defenders, as well as critics.

Shouldn’t the law of the land protect her citizens like the Sexual Offences Against Children Bill 2017, that you introduced, instead of victimising them?

…more
AFN Bill: An open letter to Azalina Othman Said
3 April 2018 – malaysiakini

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02
Apr
18

Defer anti-fake news bill, says Nazir Razak

Defer anti-fake news bill, says Nazir Razak

The prime minister’s brother says the bill should not be rushed as it is about the basic rights of individual expression.

Nazir Razak says ‘instilling fear of draconian punishments based on ambiguous definitions’ will ‘retard’ Malaysian society.

PETALING JAYA: The prime minister’s brother Nazir Razak wants the Anti-Fake News Bill 2018 to be deferred, saying such legislation must be comprehensively drafted and debated.

In an Instagram post last night, Nazir, who is CIMB Group chairman, said the bill should not be rushed.

“This is about the basic rights of individual expression, and instilling fear of such draconian punishments based on ambiguous definitions will retard our society.”

The anti-fake news bill was tabled in Parliament on Monday.

Under the proposed law, it will be an offence to create, offer, publish, distribute, circulate or disseminate fake news.

It is also an offence to directly or indirectly provide financial assistance to facilitate the spread of fake news or to abet the offence.

The bill describes fake news as any news, information, data or report, which is wholly or partly false, whether in the form of features, visuals, audio recordings or any other form, capable of suggesting words or ideas.

Yesterday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said said the maximum jail term proposed would be reduced from 10 to six years.

She said the government would also change the word “knowingly” to “maliciously” in Clause 4 of the bill.

The maximum fine for offenders remains at RM500,000.

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Defer anti-fake news bill, says Nazir Razak
March 30, 2018 – FMT

01
Apr
18

Fake news bill – a fatal assault on our democracy

Fake news bill – a fatal assault on our democracy

COMMENT | Despite mounting domestic opposition, the administration of Prime Minister Najib Razak appears determined to ram through parliament an odious bill ostensibly intended to curb fake news.

Though the government insists that the law is not intended to stop people from exercising their right to freedom of speech as provided for in the Federal Constitution, there is every reason to be seriously concerned. Under the guise of curbing fake news, the bill will gravely impair what remains of free speech and the right to dissent. The consequences will be devastating.

An array of civil society and human rights groups, journalists, lawyers, politicians and prominent national leaders are in unanimous agreement that the pending bill represents a fatal assault on our democracy. If it passes, and the indications are that it will (thanks to the shameful dereliction of duty of so many of our MPs), it will mean the end of the road for democracy in Malaysia.

The draft bill defines “fake news” as “any news, information, data and reports, which is or are wholly or partly false, whether in the form of features, visuals or audio recordings or in any other form capable of suggesting words or ideas.” It is a definition so vague and wide that it enables the government to go after anyone anywhere for any report, view or opinion. Nothing and no one will be safe from its reach.

As well, the scope of the bill is so expansive that it can be applied to anything from dubious deals with China to the scandalous conduct of officials. It gives the government the power to black out anything it doesn’t like or wants to hide.

And those found guilty of maliciously creating, offering, publishing, printing, distributing, circulating or disseminating fake news can be punished with a fine of up to RM500,000 or up to six years imprisonment (reduced from the original 10 after protests). Even someone who provides financing to a publication or blog that is charged with disseminating fake news can be liable.

In comparison to penalties provided for under other statutes, these punishments are excessive and harsh and appear designed to terrorise citizens into submission and conformity.

It is often said that he who controls the news shapes the way people think; shape the way people think and you have power to manipulate an entire nation. And that is what this is really about and why it is so insidious.

Protecting Umno-BN

In making the government (read Umno) the final arbitrator of truth and falsehood, the bill will also empower Umno to ensure that only its narrative of events prevails. There’ll be no room for criticism, dissenting views and opposing opinions. Investigative journalism and reporting on corruption and scandal in high places will cease.

In a foretaste of what is to come, the Communications and Multimedia Ministry warned only a few days ago of “stern actions” against those “propagating and spreading fake news” in relation to the 1MDB scandal, with officials insisting that information from sources other than the Malaysian government will be considered fake news.

In other words, it might soon be impossible to discuss the 1MDB issue objectively or to disagree with the government’s take on the issue.

It is hard to avoid the conclusion that this bill is not about protecting the nation’s security and stability but about protecting an increasingly unpopular political party from the people, shielding their misdeeds and failures from public scrutiny and accountability. It is not fake news that’s the target but the truth itself. It’s a new low even for Umno-BN.

And the haste with which they are pushing through this bill – in the dying days of the current parliament – suggests that they intend to use this bill to prevent the opposition from making corruption and malfeasance an election issue. Unable to defend their disgraceful record in office, they have opted to muzzle their critics instead.

The dark shadow of tyranny grows long over our nation. The lights are going out on our democracy. This may well be the last time that any of us will be able to freely express our views.

One small sliver of hope remains to us before the lights go out completely – GE14. We must act now to safeguard what’s left of our democracy by denying this government another term in office. Make no mistake: a vote for Umno-BN is a vote for the final end of our democracy.

DENNIS IGNATIUS is a former ambassador.

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Fake news bill – a fatal assault on our democracy
DENNIS IGNATIUS
30 Mar 2018 – Malaysiakini

31
Mar
18

Suhakam cannot support Anti-Fake News Bill 2018 in its present form

Suhakam: Set up parliamentary committee on fake news

The Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) has urged the government to set up a parliamentary committee on fake news.

In a statement today, Suhakam chairperson Razali Ismail said the commission cannot support the Anti-Fake News Bill 2018 in its present form, and a parliamentary committee is needed to consider more plausible measures to address the problem of fake news.

“Though the concern over the utilisation of fake news is global, which Suhakam agrees must be managed, Suhakam having perused the Anti-Fake News Bill 2018, cannot support the bill,” he said.

Razali listed ten reasons for Suhakam’s rejection of the bill.

Among others, he said the proposed law could have enormous implications and could inspire an authoritarian form of government.

“The government’s track record in utilising laws for reasons other than its intended purpose is arguably questionable,” he added.

He expressed concern that the proposed law could also 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.

Razali also pointed out that several key parts of the proposed legislation is vague or poorly addressed.

These include the fact that the bill fails to specify who is responsible for verifying whether a piece of information is fake or otherwise and does not offer a distinction between news that was generated with malicious intent or not.

The word “knowingly” under Section 4(1) of the bill, which criminalises the deliberate production and dissemination of fake news, is ambiguous.

The term “prejudicial or likely to be prejudicial to public order or national security” under Section 8(3) also poorly defined, he said.

The clause disallows the court from setting aside an order to remove fake news deemed as such by the government.

“Suhakam cannot agree on this clause as it ousts the jurisdiction of the courts, further taking away judicial powers and denying the right to seek relief from the courts, which is an affront to the rule of law in a democratic form of government,” he said.

Penalties imposed unreasonable

In addition to these, Razali said the bill is not in line with the principles of freedom of expression under the Federal Constitution as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The penalties imposed are also considered unreasonable and disproportionate.

He also expressed concern over the lack of public consultation for the bill and the rushed manner it is being tabled in Parliament, which he said is a cause for concern and not in the national interest.

“Despite being legally mandated to advise and assist the government in formulating legislation, Suhakam was only invited to the final consultation, without having sight of the bill.

“The trend to ignore this provision in the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999 is of serious concern,” he said.

Apart from coming up with alternative solutions for tackling fake news, Razali suggested that the parliamentary committee should also find ways to avoid confusion over the various laws already available to tackle misinformation.

He said these include the Penal Code, the Sedition Act 1948, the Defamation Act 1957, the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, and the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, among others.

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Suhakam: Set up parliamentary committee on fake news
28 March 2018

30
Mar
18

Withdraw the Anti-Fake News Bill 2018 – Malaysian Bar

Press Release

Withdraw the Anti-Fake News Bill 2018

The Malaysian Bar is deeply troubled by the introduction of the Anti-Fake News Bill 2018 in Parliament on 26 March 2018. It is the stated intention of the Government to have this legislation passed in the current sitting of Parliament, and it will likely be brought into force before the campaign period for the 14th General Election.

The drafting of the proposed legislation raises many questions regarding its content, intent and impact. The Malaysian Bar highlights the following:

(1) The definition of “fake news” does not simply include news but also information, data and reports, which in its broadest sense exists “in any…form capable of suggesting words or ideas”, that is/are “wholly or partly false”. What is ‘false’ is not defined. “False news” is already criminalised under section 8A of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 (“PPPA”). The definition of “publication” in the PPPA is not dissimilar to the various definitions in the proposed legislation. A “false” communication is also criminalised under section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998. These provisions beg the question of why there is any need to create a new law to criminalise “fake” or “false” news.

(2) The proposed law criminalises “fake news”, but since that is not clearly defined, it could be used to suppress freedom of expression in the context of expressing views or opinions. The wording of the provisions is sufficiently wide for an action to be brought challenging “correct” or “incorrect” views on, for example, the economy, history, politics, science, and religion. Such a law may be far too wide, and could be held to be ultra vires (i.e. in violation of) the Federal Constitution.

(3) The extra-territorial reach of the proposed legislation is, arguably, wider than that of any other law in Malaysia. It will apply so long as the “fake news concerns Malaysia or the person affected by the commission of the offence is a Malaysian citizen”. Therefore, neither the complainant nor the person complained of needs to be physically present in Malaysia for the offence to have been committed. Further, a court order to remove the publication can be served “by electronic means”, which is not defined but could conceivably include service by email, Twitter, WhatsApp, or other forms of text messaging or social media.

(4) An individual or entity affected by “fake news” can apply to the courts for an ex parte order to remove the news, i.e. without informing the person being complained of. There is no opportunity to have both parties present in court to argue the veracity of the “fake news”. The likely procedure is for the Sessions Court to evaluate the complaint and any supporting evidence or documents submitted by the complainant and, if the court decides that the item is “fake news”, to grant an order.

An order can be challenged, but an application to challenge does not operate to suspend or defer the original order, which must still be complied with. However, if it is the Government that obtains the order, and it alleges that the “fake news” is prejudicial or likely to be prejudicial to public order or national security, and the court agrees, the order cannot be challenged.

(5) The proposed legislation does not deal with a situation if the government publishes “fake news”. Looking at what is taking place around the world, this is an omission that needs to be addressed.

(6) If the offence is committed by a body corporate, the proposed law allows for criminal liability to attach to its directors and officers, but it can also attach to anyone “to any extent responsible for the management of any of the affairs of the body corporate or was assisting in such management”. Thus, for example, if a news reporter writes a story about Malaysia that is held to contain “fake news”, the editor or sub-editor of the company employing the news reporter would also be criminally liable. Failure to abide by a court order leads to the commission of a criminal offence, which carries a fine of up to RM100,000 and a continuing fine of RM3,000 for each day of non-compliance. Such failure also results in a contempt of court, and arrest is allowed under the Criminal Procedure Code.

(7) The many illustrations, in the proposed legislation, of how an offence is committed under the proposed legislation actually involve the issue of civil or criminal defamation, for which Malaysia has adequate legislation and legal procedures. This again raises the question of why new legislation is required. Of serious concern is the fact that publishing a “caricature” can also constitute an offence of “fake news”. Parodies and poking fun, which by their very nature may involve some embellishment, would now constitute a criminal offence.

(8) While the use of the word “knowingly” in the elements of the offence denotes a requirement of intention, there is no requirement of malice or ill intent, unlike section 8A of the PPPA. However, there is another offence in the proposed legislation, of failing in one’s duty to remove news, “knowing or having reasonable grounds to believe” that it is “fake news”. What constitutes “knowing or having reasonable grounds to believe” is not defined. This lack of certainty gives cause for concern.

(9) The real issue of “fake news”, which is what is currently in the minds of many governments around the world, is about the setting up of fake social media accounts and publishing news through it, of sending tailored messages based on someone’s online profile, and the funding of the same, and influencing outcomes of elections. However, these matters are not adequately addressed in the proposed legislation. Only the issue of funding is dealt with and criminalised in the proposed section 5. Again, other existing legislation already caters for the offence of aiding and abetting the spreading of false news, so this provision does not serve any purpose except for the provision of a huge maximum fine of RM500,000 and/or a heavy maximum jail sentence of 10 years, to act as a chilling deterrent.

Previous issues of the Prime Minister receiving a vast donation prior to the last General Election, and what may have been done with those funds, have been wholly overlooked. The presence in Malaysia of a foreign company involved in data analytics and online profiling is also ignored. If the Malaysian Government were genuinely concerned about the possibility of foreign funding and foreign influence on the outcome of our upcoming General Election, surely it should have focused instead on campaign finance reform, data security, and personal privacy.

Ultimately, the public is left to ponder the “value add” of this proposed new legislation.

Regrettably, the intended provisions enable:

(1) the Government to immediately silence “fake news”;

(2) court orders to be rendered unchallengeable if there is accepted evidence of prejudicing public order or national security; and

(3) intimidation of the media and honest practitioners of freedom of expression, who must now be 100% correct in their reporting, postings or statements, or else stand accused of being “partially false”.

Sensitivities about the reputation of Malaysia by way of negative comments and criticisms can now be attacked through an extremely wide extra-territorial application of the proposed legislation, putting this in the same category as international terrorism, cross-border corruption, money-laundering, and trafficking in persons. While this issue should not be ignored, the proposed broad-based law to criminalise the dissemination of news amounts to legislative overkill.

The Malaysian Bar calls on the Government to withdraw the proposed legislation from consideration at this current sitting of Parliament, and to convene a proper Select Committee to look comprehensively and publicly into the issue. The Government must not legislate in haste.

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Withdraw the Anti-Fake News Bill 2018
27 March 2018- Malaysian Bar

23
Mar
18

Why rush Fake News Bill?

Why rush Fake News Bill, asks DAP lawmaker

TABLING the Fake News Bill in the Dewan Rakyat ahead of the 14th general election is a cause for concern, DAP MP Ramkarpal Singh said.

In a statement last night, the Bukit Gelugor MP questioned the motive of the move following Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Jailani Johari’s remarks that any news related to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) not recognised by the authorities was considered false information.

Ramkarpal, a lawyer, said the authorities’ findings could not be conclusive, as they are not based on evidence tested in court.

“As such, the said findings cannot be taken as conclusive evidence that certain criticisms of 1MDB which are not recognised by the said authorities are fake.

“Furthermore, there have been numerous instances of severe criticisms by foreign media of 1MDB with some going as far as to suggest that the prime minister himself is implicated in the scandal it finds itself in.

“To date, the prime minister has shockingly not commenced any legal action against such foreign media,” he said.

Jailani yesterday said that since 1MDB had been investigated by the police, the Attorney-General’s Chambers and Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC), any information concerning the state investor not confirmed by the authorities would be deemed fake news.

Earlier this month, he also accused foreign newspapers and broadcasters of spreading fake news about 1MDB as part of an agenda to damage Prime Minister Najib Razak’s reputation ahead of the 14th general election.

International media coverage of the 1MDB scandal picked up again following Indonesia’s seizure of the RM1 billion super yacht The Equanimity belonging to businessman Low Taek Jho (Jho Low), who is said to be Najib’s confidant and business advisor.

Ramkarpal asked if the proposed Fake News Act would also apply to the foreign media; and whether the government would seek Interpol’s help to arrest the authors of damning articles in publications like the Wall Street Journal and The Economist abroad to face charges here under the new Act.

“Going by the failure of the government to take action against the said foreign media so far, it is practically certain that no action will be taken against them under the new law.

“With that result, it is likely that the new Act is highly suspect and merely to shut out criticism of 1MDB, or for that matter, any other sensitive matters in the run up to general election.

“The government should avoid further negative perceptions against it by tabling the said Bill in these circumstances, which will undoubtedly attract further ridicule of the already dismal record of freedom of speech in this country internationally.” – March 22, 2018.

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Why rush Fake News Bill, asks DAP lawmaker
22 Mar 2018 – TMI

02
Mar
18

Will the truth be fake news soon?

Will the truth be fake news soon?

FAKE news is such a phenomenon that Putrajaya has formed a task force to look into laws for it, as it could “threaten political stability, and undermine public order and national security”.

Of course, there are already laws regulating information in the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 and Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

But what is fake news? Is it what the government, not just in Malaysia but even the United States, defines as fake news?

And what could be some of the news seen as fake by Malaysia’s task force under Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said?

After all, she said new measures to tackle the dissemination of fake news should be undertaken so people would be more responsible in publishing, disseminating and sharing news, and to ensure the country’s security.

So, what is fake news for now?

1) Anything to do with 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Prime Minister Najib Razak said yesterday that the losses incurred by 1MDB could be regained, unlike those incurred in the Bank Negara Malaysia forex scandal 30 years ago.

Petaling Jaya MP Tony Pua disagrees, asking whether Najib could publicly state where US$940 million (RM3.65 billion) worth of “units” had gone after the original custodial bank, BSI Bank, was shut down.

If all monies were accounted for in 1MDB, why is it that 1MDB has failed to produce a single audited financial statement since March 2014, asked Pua.

He said it was the US Department of Justice’s (DoJ) highlighting of the missing funds that led Deloitte Malaysia to withdraw its endorsement of 1MDB’s 2013 and 2014 financial accounts.

So, which is fake news for the special task force?

2) That something is amiss with the transfer of the Felda headquarters’ land in Jalan Semarak.

Berita Harian first reported last December that the Felda land had been lost as it had been transferred to the developers without any money exchanged and also without the board’s knowledge.

This matter was first known in January last year and the prime minister informed a month later. But it was only exposed in December for reasons only known to Felda.

But it later transpired that the developers had actually offered RM500 million for the 16 parcels of land, worth apparently RM200 million, or 10% of the gross development value (GDV) of RM6 billion to RM8 billion.

And now, Felda has retrieved the land titles back, although the legalities of an actual transfer have yet to be done. Was the land ever lost? Which part of the news is fake now?

3) That a sizeable number of Malaysians are hurting and cannot make ends meet because of the rising cost of living and stagnant wages.

Is this true or do people have to spend according to their means?

Putrajaya says the country’s economic growth during 2017’s third quarter was among the fastest in the Asian region.

According to Bank Negara Malaysia, the country’s economy grew at a faster pace of 6.2% in the third quarter of 2017 compared with 4.3% in the same quarter in 2016.

But sales in the Malaysian retail industry contracted 1.1% in the third quarter in 2017 on eroding Malaysians’ purchasing power, according to a report compiled by Retail Group Malaysia (RGM).

“Despite strong economic performance during the third quarter, a majority of consumers did not receive higher take-home pay,” RGM said in the report.

It added that the rising cost of living has also deteriorated the purchasing power of Malaysian consumers. For the first nine months of 2017, the retail sale growth rate was 1.9%, compared with the same period the previous year.

So, what can one believe, or what does the special task force say? Good year or bad year?

4) That the household debt and country’s debt have reached dangerous proportions.

According to government statistics, Malaysia’s household debt has declined as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) to 84.6% as of September 2017 from 88.4% for 2016.

But the country’s debts stood at a staggering RM687.43 billion in the last financial year, according to Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who said that the country’s debt situation prevented the government from ensuring universal economic well-being for its people.

“In this regard, the sad reality is that our leadership has failed to keep in check the national debt that our country is in,” the veteran lawmaker said.

The federal debt stood at RM685.1 billion as of June 2017, the Finance Ministry said in November, up by almost a fifth from March 2016, but the debt-to-GDP ratio was 50.9%, or 3% lower, over the same period, likely due to increased projected earnings.

But the government says the debt is manageable, although servicing the debt is getting to be a bigger share of the entire national budget. It is projected to be 13.1% for 2018, although Serdang MP Ong Kian Ming said adding off-budget expenditure and debt servicing could push that figure beyond the mandated 15% threshold.

So, what would be fake news here? That all is well, or that there will be a budget crisis soon that would affect providing for the people?

5) That while the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has been busy picking up civil servants who are living beyond their means, precious little action has been taken against powerful and famous politicians in the country.

The past two years has seen headline reports of civil servants being picked up and their array of possessions, from luxury cars and bags to piles of cash, being presented as evidence of corruption.

But what about the politicians? The powerful and famous who openly flaunt their wealth although they have hardly had professional jobs to finance such a lifestyle?

The few politicians picked up have been released with nothing further on the cases. What are the results of investigations into the Felda land and Mara purchases scandals?

What about the lapses of management in 1MDB? Or are these not under the MACC?

Politicians and top civil servants were involved in these ventures but nothing has been heard of despite the plethora of headlines and promises of action by the authorities.

Or are civil servants children of lesser gods? Or news of corrupt politicians just fake news? – February 3, 2018.

…more
Will the truth be fake news soon?
3 Feb 2018 – TMI




Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!

The dawn of A Better Malaysia!
Rafidah Aziz, Hannah Yeoh, Ambiga at TTDI ceramah

 

Mahathir in Putrajaya ceramah

 

What happened to 1MDB’s money? – CNBC Video
Nuclear lessons for Malaysia (Part 1) (Part 2)
BN govt is directing attention to distant past and distant future, in order to distract people from present misdeeds and poor governance
Felda - A picture is worth a thousand words
How the 1MDB Scandal Spread Across the World (WSJ)
We cannot afford ridiculously expensive RM55 Billion ECRL!
All that is necessary
for the triumph of evil
is for good men
to do nothing.

- Edmund Burke
When the people
fears their government,
there is TYRANNY;
when the government
fears the people,
there is LIBERTY.

- Thomas Jefferson
Do you hear the people sing?

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