Malaysia's ruling coalition launches web portal to combat fake news ahead of general election

Malaysian PM Najib Razak launching the new portal at the Putra World Trade Centre on Jan 3, 2018.
Malaysian PM Najib Razak launching the new portal at the Putra World Trade Centre on Jan 3, 2018.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's Barisan Nasional (BN) ruling coalition has launched a web portal to canvass for votes and combat fake news on social media ahead of the country's 14th general election, The Star reported on Wednesday (Dec 3).

The therakyat.com - rakyat means the people in Malay - was launched by Prime Minister Najib Razak and other BN leaders on Wednesday.

Datuk Seri Najib said at the launch that social media had become the primary source of information among the people.

“In the 13th general election, we became the victim of fake news, although the term was not popular back then," he said.

“The reality is, fake news has become the Opposition’s weapon and has brought consequences to us,” Mr Najib, who is also Barisan chairman, said in his speech. “We believe the same thing will happen during the 14th general election.

“That is why we need a platform that can be used to connect, and to spread accurate and quick information to the people. In other words, every information in the portal must be authoritative,” he added.

Also present were Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Barisan component party leaders such as MCA president Liow Tiong Lai, deputy president Wee Ka Siong, MIC president Dr S. Subramaniam, Gerakan president Mah Siew Keong and others.

The portal will feature information on Barisan's candidates in the upcoming polls. It contains several interactive segments and will also feature one-on-one interviews with Barisan leaders in a programme called Bicara 4 Mata which will air on national TV every alternate Wednesday.