KUALA LUMPUR, April 5 — The enforcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO) has entered its 19th day today with majority of the public having complied to the ruling for them to stay home, but fake news on COVID-19, and also MCO, on the social media is still spreading like wildfire.
Despite repeated advice and reminders to the public on the ethics of using the social media, as well as the punishment that awaits those who spread fake news, the warning does not seem to have any impact on some netizens.
According to a statement by Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob yesterday, 184 investigation papers have been opened and 20 cases have been charged in court in connection with the spread of fake news on COVID-19 on the social media.
He said the police and the Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) will not compromise with those responsible for spreading fake news and legal action would be taken against them under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, which provides a maximum fine of RM50,000 or imprisonment for up to a year, or both, upon conviction.
Meanwhile, those who want to buy face mask are advised to be cautious and to not fall prey to fraudulent sale, especially when buying the items through advertisements on social sites.
Based on media reports yesterday, a total of 501 cheating cases involving the sale of face mask were reported nationwide since enforcement of MCO until last Friday, involving losses of more than RM3.5 million.
A total of 37 people, all Malaysians aged between 21 and 45, have been arrested, with 22 of them having been charged in court with the offence.
During the MCO period, the public is also advised to practice a healthy lifestyle by exercising at home and eat healthy, as well as have a balanced diet.
MCO was enforced since March 18, with the first phase, until March 31, while the second phase is from April 1 until 14.
Many are hoping that there will be no further extension of the MCO so that they can go back to their normal life, with some already making plans and activities to be carried out after the MCO period is over.
Hence, the need for the public to cooperate by complying with the MCO order, which is required to break the chain of the COVID-19 infection in the country.