Malaysia moves to repeal controversial fake news law in first parliament sitting after polls

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KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's Pakatan Harapan government hopes to repeal the controversial Anti-Fake News Act 2018 at the first sitting of the new Parliament on June 25, said Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo.

He said his ministry is preparing the paperwork for this but the government needs to consult the Attorney-General's Chambers and other relevant stakeholders before they abolish the law.

"Hopefully, we can repeal it during the first Parliament meeting," he told reporters at a news conference at Wisma Bernama on Monday (May 28).

The government is also looking to review several laws related to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), the industry watchdog, which relates to complaints and investigations into several reported cases.

The fake news law was pushed through Parliament by the then-ruling Barisan Nasional government on April 2, despite numerous protests from opposition lawmakers and civil society groups that it would be misused to muffle dissent ahead of the looming general election.

Parliament was dissolved on April 7 for the May 9 polls.

The legislation, which carries stiff punishments of up to six years in prison and a maximum fine of RM500,000 (S$170,000), was voted through in Parliament's Lower House with 123 votes for and 64 votes against after the Bill's second reading.

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