PUTRAJAYA,Mar 17: Communications and multimedia minister Saifuddin Abdullah has given his assurance that any action under the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance (No.2) 2021 will only be taken against those involved in spreading fake news about Covid-19 and the Proclamation of Emergency, and not for any criticism.
He said his ministry has listened to the views and criticisms of various parties, including opposition parties, non-governmental organisations and the Malaysian Human Rights Commission, on their concerns over the ordinance.
“I would like to reiterate that this ordinance on fake news is not at all intended for politicians. If a politician criticises me or the government in relation to matters involving vaccines or the ordinance, that criticism is different from fake news.
“We will make sure that the action taken is on fake news, not criticism. It is possible to criticise but if it involves fake news, then no matter who spreads it, they can be taken to task,” he told reporters after the launch of the book “Respecting National Emblems” yesterday.
Saifuddin said the ordinance was aimed at protecting the public from being deceived by fake news instead of saving the government (from criticism).
He added that the ordinance was only to protect the people from being deceived by fake news that discourages them from registering for the Covid-19 vaccine due to allegations that the Chinese-made vaccines used illegal substances or that vaccines from other countries were unsafe.
On allegations that Kuala Langat MP Dr Xavier Jayakumar had quit PKR after being pressured, Saifuddin said: “First, it has nothing to do with Covid-19, second it has nothing to do with the Emergency, so I will not take action.”
He said Xavier’s stand, in expressing support for prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin despite not joining any party in Perikatan Nasional (PN), should be respected.
On Saturday, the then PKR vice-president quit the party with immediate effect having been with the party since it was founded in 1998.
He said that he was frustrated with the actions of some parties who continue to discuss the election when the main focus should be helping the people and tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.