The police and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) recently reported that a former deputy minister is under investigation for spreading fake news online
According to the MCMC statement, the unnamed former deputy minister had posted a video alleging that the Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex in Johor Bahru was being stormed by hordes of people during the Movement Control Order (MCO).
However, according to multiple media reports, the official has since been identified as former deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Department, and current Kuantan Member of Parliament (MP), Fuziah Salleh.
The viral video of the allegedly out of control situation at CIQ Complex was shared on her official Facebook page last Thursday, 9 April
The accompanying caption, cited by New Straits Times, read, "Malaysian workers in Singapore attempting to return to Malaysia en masse. Hope there will be five-star hotels to quarantine them".
The post has since been deleted, with the page administrator apologising for the post of an old video and hoping that it did not cause panic.
The Malaysian Immigration Department has since shared pictures of CIQ on the night of 9 April to refute the claims of the video
They instead clarified that the recording, taken on 18 December 2019, was of a fire drill conducted outside the building, and warned that serious action will be taken on those who shared the video to create panic among the public.
Meanwhile, MCMC has seized Fuziah Salleh's telephone and SIM card to assist in the investigation process
According to The Star, they have also recorded her statement at the Commercial Crimes Investigation Department at the Pahang contingent police headquarters in Kuantan, at 9pm on Friday, 10 April.
"She is being investigated under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 for sharing offensive and menacing content, which carries a maximum fine of RM50,000, a jail term not exceeding one year, or both," the MCMC statement explains.
The MP is also being investigated under Section 505(b) of the Penal Code for intent to cause fear or alarm to the public, and if found guilty, would be subject to a maximum jail term of two years or a fine, or both.
MCMC also reminded Malaysians that starting or spreading fake news was a crime
They warned that, along with the police, they are monitoring everyone including public figures, media practitioners, and online media for the spread of false news as the country faces the COVID-19 outbreak.
"Severe action will be taken on those who are involved to ensure public order is maintained."
The Malaysian Information Department has defined news that "instils hatred towards the ruling government" as fake news:
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