Wuhan virus: Malaysia arrests person for spreading fake news about coronavirus

Passengers walking past a poster about coronavirus screening at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, on Jan 21, 2020.
Passengers walking past a poster about coronavirus screening at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, on Jan 21, 2020.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - An individual has been detained in connection with spreading false or fake news regarding the novel coronavirus.

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) said the 34-year-old was detained in Bangi at around 4pm on Tuesday (Jan 28) with the assistance of police.

"The suspect was detained for spreading false information on Jan 26 regarding the virus.

"The suspect's mobile phone and SIM card, believed to have been used to upload the fake news on Facebook, were also seized," said the commission said in a statement on Wednesday.

The case is being investigated under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, which carries a maximum fine of RM50,000 (S$17,000) or not more than a year of imprisonment or both upon conviction.

"Such a stern action is taken to ensure that fake news about the virus is not spread by irresponsible individuals that could disrupt public order. Spreading news to cause fear and panic among the public can also be investigated under Section 505 of the Penal Code, which carries two years imprisonment or a fine or both upon conviction," the commission said.

The MCMC and police are currently seeking three others for allegedly spreading fake news.

"It shows our seriousness in curbing the spread of false information," it said.