Communications and Multimedia Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Jailani Johari named the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, The Economist, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the MSNBC as among those who spread fake news concerning 1MDB.
The Communications and Multimedia Ministry (KKMM) warned that those who continue propagating and spreading fake news, especially involving the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), will face stern action.
Jailani said at the time when the government was going all out to address the spread of lies and fake news in the country, it was also found that several fake news was also being propagated by foreign sources, Bernama reported.
“Latest, the KKMM has identified several online news portals which, in their bid to tarnish the image and reputation of the prime minister (Datuk Seri Najib Razak), have been reviving the issues of 1MDB following the seizure of a luxury yacht by the authority of a neighbouring country.”
Jailani said the 1MDB case had been investigated by the relevant authorities, including the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), and all allegations about the misappropriation of funds were proven false.
“We at the ministry, through the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), are monitoring the issue now and we would like to advise the portals to stop spreading fake news, especially concerning the 1MDB,” he said.
“We believe that this is just part of last-minute politically motivated efforts to defame and tarnish the good name of the prime minister in view of the 14th general election,” he added.
Jailani said among the portals were the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, The Economist, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the MSNBC.
On March 9, an episode of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show titled ‘With New Player’s Details, Trump-Russia Probe Seems Far From Over’ made detailed mention of the 1MDB scandal.
In a 21-minute segment on her show, Maddow provided a detailed background on the 1MDB scandal, with allegations of a “giant act of thievery”.
The segment also included the recent revelation by the Wall Street Journal of Republican donor Elliott Broidy having been in negotiations for a US$75 million (RM295 million) deal with Jho Low to get the US Department of Justice (DoJ) to drop its 1MDB investigation.
Low has been embroiled in the 1MDB scandal, particularly after the DoJ launched a series of forfeiture suits to seize assets it claims had been stolen from 1MDB.
He recently made the headlines again when a luxury yacht he allegedly acquired using 1MDB funds was seized by Indonesian authorities in Bali in a joint operation with the US authorities.
1MDB and Jho Low also made it to the front page of this week’s Tempo, a leading Indonesian current affairs magazine.
The headline, in Indonesian read: ‘1MDB Corruption Yacht’.
The subheading read: ‘Allegedly bought with corruption money, Malaysian ship seized by police in Bali. Its owner is a close associate of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’.
The 1MDB edition of Tempo, which is the March 12 to March 18 edition, will hit the newsstands in Indonesia today.
In the 1MDB segment of her show, Maddow also highlighted the seizure of the yacht named Equanimity, jesting that the American people have a “new yacht”.
She also jokingly congratulated US taxpayers on becoming “the proud owner of $60 million worth of proceeds that were earned by the film ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ as the producers have now surrendered $60 million of what that film made to the US government.”
She also talked about the billions stolen from 1MDB which were spent on “a ridiculous list of stuff”, including “a lot of ridiculous jewellery”.