Fake news ordinance: What about Kuching mayor’s erroneous Covid-19 posting, asks Kong

Wee Hong Seng – Borneo Post photo

By Chew Lip Song

A SARAWAK DAP leader incensed with the recently-gazetted Emergency ordinance to curb the spread of fake news said the Kuching South City Council mayor was also guilty of spreading misinformation in January.

Michael Kong, the special assistant to the Sarawak DAP chairman said the mayor, Datuk Wee Hong Seng had on Jan 19 posted that Sarawak recorded 321 new Covid-19 cases the day before.

“While it was subsequently taken down shortly after it was posted, the damage was already done and fear or alarm was already caused to the public,” said Kong in a statement today.

Wee had then apologised for the oversight and said he only wanted to share the information, later proven to be inaccurate, fast.

Kong added that the ordinance was  another sign that the country was “going back to the dark ages” as the law resembled the Anti-Fake News Act which was passed by the BN government just before the 14th general election but subsequently repealed by Pakatan Harapan.

“A proper reading of the Ordinance will show that it is not only confined to Covid-19 itself but also applicable to those who spread information on the proclamation of emergency.

“PN cannot be proclaiming emergency yet at the same time stopping people from discussing the state of emergency,” he added.

Under the ordinance, violators face a fine not exceeding RM100,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both. Those who fails to remove the purported fake newsface a further fine not exceeding RM1,000 for each day the offence continues after conviction.

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