Anti-Fake News Act will be repealed, Dr Mahathir pledges

By P PREM KUMAR / Pic By AFIF ABD HALIM

The government will not back off from its election promises, particularly on the abolishment of the Anti-Fake News Act 2018 and the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday dispelled rumours that the government might not abolish the Anti-Fake News Act, as steps are already being taken to address the issue.

“There is no intention to retain the anti-fake news law, but what I said was that we need to study other laws as well which prohibit media freedom,” he told a media conference at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya.

He said apart from media rights, national security laws which restrain the freedom of the people will also be reviewed as soon as possible.

Dr Mahathir said the government’s current focus is to form the core Cabinet of 10 ministries and convene a Cabinet meeting to decide on dates for the next parliamentary session.

He added that the Parliament has to be convened as soon as possible, to enable the proposed law reforms.

“We want to have the first phase of government with 10 ministries by the end of this week, after which we will fill (in) the other 15 ministers in the Cabinet.

“The swearing-in and Cabinet meeting will be immediately called to push for reforms within the first 100 days of administration, as promised,” Dr Mahathir said.

Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir said the government will terminate some 17,000 civil servants who are employed on a contract basis.

He said the action has to be taken to avoid excessive wastage in the public sector.

Dr Mahathir said the 17,000 contract civil servants are political appointees, and the termination will not include low-wage employees such as drivers.

“There are too many contract officers. While some may be appointed for administration purposes, most of them were political appointees,” he said.

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