Parliament Passes Bill to Repeal Anti-Fake News Law

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The Anti-Fake News Act, which was passed about five months ago, has been repealed with a simple voice vote.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohamed Hanipa Maidin in his winding-up speech said there were sufficient laws to deal with fake news.

“We don’t need new legislations. We already have existing laws, such as the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and others that can deal with this phenomenon,” he told lawmakers on Thursday.

Mohamed Hanipa also said the police and other enforcement agencies should be empowered further to deal with the emergence of fake news.

“During Barisan Nasional’s time, the police was used to protect them. They were not to fight crime.

“Now with Pakatan Harapan Government, the police will be used to fight crime and not cover us,” he said in reply to Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said (BN-Pengerang) who asked how fake accounts on social media spreading fake news would be handled without the law.

Only 12 lawmakers debated Anti-Fake News (Repeal) Bill 2018 for about three hours on Thursday to repeal the contentious law. It passed by a simple voice vote.

The Anti-Fake News Act was passed by the Dewan Rakyat on April 2 this year following two days of fierce debates.

The following day, the Senate passed it amid allegations by opposition MPs that the law was being bulldozed through by the Barisan Government to clamp down on them before the 14th General Election on May 9.