KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 28 – The allegation by some parties that the new fake news law is aimed at silencing debate regarding 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) is not true, said Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak. Salleh said there was nothing to stop anyone from debating or talking about 1MDB.
“The issue is when someone starts spreading ‘news’ and ‘facts’ which are false. For example, we keep hearing ‘news’ that RM42 billion of 1MDB’s money has ‘disappeared’ into thin air when this has been officially explained and proven false,” he said in his latest blog post on www.sskeruak.blogspot.my today.
The minister said the bigger issue was to deal with the irresponsible spread of such fake ‘news’ and ‘facts’, “which applies to many other situations in our lives”. “When a lie is repeated too many times, people can believe it to be true. This is the disease of fake news which affects the world globally, not just Malaysia,” he said.
The minister explained that the truth was not subjective, and has to be precise and backed with evidence which is verified to be true. “If not, it would be mere claims and allegation, with nothing proven. Everyone should understand this concept so that they would not be easily misled by ‘fake news'”, he said.
Salleh said it was surprising that some Malaysians appeared to be ignorant of the basic rule of law, where the burden of proof is always on the person who puts the claim or allegation, and the defendant is innocent until proven guilty. “If you claim something, then you have to prove it to be true. You have to show your evidence, which needs to be verified for truth and authenticity,” he said. — Bernama