After new 'fake news' law, Abim appeals for Parliament to reconvene

·1-min read
After new 'fake news' law, Abim appeals for Parliament to reconvene
After new 'fake news' law, Abim appeals for Parliament to reconvene

The Muslim Youth Movement (Abim) has urged Putrajaya to reconvene Parliament immediately in view of the new Emergency Ordinance criminalising "fake news".

In a statement, Abim president Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz (above) said the new law raises a lot of questions about its scope and punishments which should have been scrutinised by Parliament.

"Abim views that the official gazette of the recent Emergency Ordinance will potentially open the floodgates for abuse of executive power to enforce more orders and laws without restraint in the future and without going through check-and-balance channels via the parliamentary mechanism.

"As such, it is reasonably justified for a parliamentary session to be convened immediately. This is in line with the decree of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, who has expressed his view that Parliament sessions can be held during the emergency period," said Faisal.

The Emergency (Essential Powers) (No 2) Ordinance 2021 came into force yesterday which granted the government sweeping powers for the courts to decide what is "fake news" or not.

Some existing laws such as the Evidence Act 1950 will not apply for offences under this Emergency Ordinance.

The Emergency Ordinance allows for property seizures and the police can compel an alleged offender to reveal computer passwords.

Those who violate the law can be fined up to RM100,000 or jailed up to a year, or both.

Putrajaya has promised that the law will only be applied on "fake news" involving Covid-19 and emergency.

However, when Communications and Multimedia Minister Saifuddin Abdullah was asked yesterday whether Putrajaya could provide an assurance that the law would not be abused, he replied: "That's a political question, not a legal question."

According to de facto Law Minister Takiyuddin Hassan, the law can be repealed once Parliament convenes.

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