Anti-Fake News Act repealed by Dewan Rakyat again

Azril Annuar
A billboard advertisement discouraging the dissemination of fake news is pictured along Jalan SS20/27, Damansara Jaya March 26, 2018. — Picture by Azneal Ishak

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 9 — The Anti-Fake News Act has been repealed by the Dewan Rakyat again after it was rebuffed by the Dewan Negara.

At the policy level, the Bill had 93 ayes and 53 nays while at the committee level, it saw 92 ayes and 51 nays during a voting before Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Yusof.

The government first tabled the Bill in September last year and it got past the Dewan Rakyat, but was rejected by the Dewan Negara.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong re-tabled the Bill for the first reading.

The Bill seeks to repeal the Anti-Fake News Act 2018 (Act 803) which was passed by Parliament during the previous Barisan Nasional administration.

According to the Bill, copies of which were circulated to the media, among others stated that the provision to repeal Act 803 was due to a change in government policy that fake news can be tackled with existing laws.

The winding-up of the debate was tabled by Liew's deputy, Mohamed Hanipa Maidin and was heard by Deputy Speaker Datuk Rashid Hasnon.

However, Mohamed Hanipa was practically shut down by the Opposition after he made a sexist remark against Pengerang MP Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said — claiming that he sometimes cannot tell her gender.

This triggered chaos in the Dewan Rakyat with demands for the Sepang lawmaker to retract his statement.

Despite retracting his statement, Mohamed Hanipa could barely get a word in during the wind-up as he was continuously interrupted by the Opposition who demanded that the Lower House go straight to the voting stage and skip the winding-up, claiming that Mohamed Hanipa was provocative.

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