Minister: 67 fake news cases reported to MCMC

A total of 67 cases have been reported to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) between January 2016 and September 2017 for spreading fake news online.

Only five of these cases have been prosecuted in court, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

During this period, Salleh said MCMC has also restricted some 1,861 websites, portals and blogs — all believed to have contained any fake or false contents that can create confusion and affect the social harmony in a multi-ethnic society.

He stressed that besides the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, the Penal Code and the Sedition Act 1948 can also be used against irresponsible social media users and online portals, for misusing the online platforms.

“What’s important is that the provision of laws that we have is sufficient to handle these situations.

“Nevertheless, measures to update and upgrade existing laws will be done with engagement with stakeholders to ensure that these laws will remain relevant according to time,” Salleh said in response to a query from Tasek Gelugor MP Datuk Shabudin Yahaya.

Shabudin had asked the government to state proactive measures taken to ensure that news contents by news portals do not affect public order.

Meanwhile on the issue of Malaysians’ personal data having been compromised and sold as posted on online public forum Lowyat.net, Salleh said there was a “miscommunication” between MCMC and the website.

“There has been miscommunication between them, but this has been resolved amicably. “There is no problem with Lowyat.net. MCMC and the police are investigating the allegation that personal data is on sale under the Personal Data

Protection Act 2010,” he said. Salleh said people should not speculate on the matter until the investigation is over.

On Oct 19, Lowyat.net had posted the said article for an undisclosed amount of bitcoin on its forum. It was reported that the data sold included names, MyKad numbers and billing address.

However, upon clarification by MCMC, Lowyat.net was allowed to report the original article which was initially instructed to be removed.