BN’s proposed Anti-Fake News Bill will cover up all corruption scandals such as 1MDB, and is a death knell to freedom of speech and press freedom by using imprisonment to threaten independent media outlets, who do not publish news verified by the BN Federal Government. The announcement comes after Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Jailani Johari said that any 1MDB-related information which was unverified, including reports by international news organisations The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and MSNBC, would be considered fake news

Jailani arrogantly said thatThe general definition of fake news is news confirmed as false by authorities with expertise in the matter.” In other words only the government can determine which is true and false or decide which is fake or not. That the BN Federal government only can decide what is true or false is draconian. This is a clear and unequivocal signal that Malaysia under BN is now lurching into a full-blown dictatorship.

When Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said talked about protecting the public from becoming victims of fake news, what about whistleblowers and independent media outlets who fall victim to BN because they fall foul of the Anti-Fake News Bill? Even issuing this statement can land me in trouble with the Anti-Fake News bill, since BN appears to want to “get” me for something as minor as singing and dancing, along with a song mocking the GST in an event attended by children.

Many countries have commenced investigations related to 1MDB, which has been described by US attorney-general Jeff Sessions as “kleptocracy at its worst”. In Singapore a bank has its license cancelled, its officers charged and there has even been a former banker jailed for four and a half years(54 months) for being involved in misappropriation of 1MDB funds. And yet the BN Federal government can dismiss all these news as fake!

The 1MDB scandal once again made global headlines again last month, when the Malaysian government refused to file their claim of ownership over the RM 1 billion super-yacht “Equanimity super-yacht” seized in Bali, even though it is linked to Low Taek Jho. The Malaysian government also refused to claim Swiss francs CHF104 million (RM430 million), seized by the Swiss government’s due to being allegedly misappropriated 1MDB funds. Under the proposed Anti-Fake News Bill, the RM1 billion super-yacht and RM430 million also fake?

LIM GUAN ENG