Police, MCMC warn against fake news on Wuhan virus

Danial Dzulkifly
A health quarantine officer stationed at a thermal screening point monitors passengers at the international arrival terminal of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang January 27, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 27 — The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) are both monitoring for misinformation and fake news regarding the Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

In a joint statement today, both agencies said they will strictly enforce laws against those spreading unverified claims and causing public alarm about the disease.

“PDRM and MCMC view this matter seriously and will not tolerate any parties who spread fake news to the extent of causing fear, panic or anger towards the public and thus creating panic and jeopardising the stability of the nation,’’ the two said.

The two said that spreading false news about the outbreak was an offence under Section 505 of the Penal Code and Section 233 of the MCMC Act, and punishable by up to two years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to RM100,000, respectively.

To date, Malaysia has four confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV, all of which are under strict medical observation.

Federal and state officials have been proactively addressing rumours and false claims regarding the virus in Malaysia.

State officials from Melaka, Pahang, Terengganu and Negri Sembilan came out today to refute rumours that the states were facing cases of 2019-nCoV.

Both the police and MCMC urged the public to obtain their information regarding the virus directly from the Health Ministry.

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