False news of impending chaos on polling day being spread
15 individuals called to give statements and assist in investigations
THE Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) said it has called 15 individuals to give statements and assist in investigations into the dissemination of false news and defamation via text messaging.
Malaysia goes to the polls on May 5 in its 13th general election (GE13), which some have described as “the mother of all elections.” Political observers have said there was a reasonable chance the nation may see a change in government for the first time since its independence in 1957.
An example of false news that spread through text messages was one saying that there would be chaos on polling day during GE13, advising members of the public to stock up on basic necessities and food in anticipation, the MCMC said in a statement.
“The act of spreading false information is an offence under the Penal Code and the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998,” said MCMC chairman Mohamed Sharil Tarmizi (pic).
“We are working with the police in a number of investigations, and upon gathering sufficient evidence, we will prosecute those offenders.
“All parties should think carefully before forwarding any news and information they receive, and should first verify such information from official sources. People need to remain calm and control their emotions in their zeal to campaign in this election season,” he added.
MCMC said it has also found an increasing trend of cyber-bullying as GE13 approaches, such that elements of threats and libel, crimes under the Penal Code, have also surfaced.
Sharil warned the public to cease from engaging in these kinds of acts as they are offences. “A crime in the real world is also a crime in the cyber world; there is no difference,” he said.
“In our democratic process, the right to vote and choose our leaders is enshrined in the nation’s Constitution. Hence, this right should be respected by all quarters in exercising their responsibility.
“Cyber-bullying clearly goes against the good values that we should practise,” he added.
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