The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has warned the public not to disseminate any unauthorised information affecting race, religion and Royal institution (royalty). The commission will continue to monitor the dissemination of fake information on social media sites following recent developments in the country.
According to a media statement, any sharing of content that is false, offensive and threatening is an offense and penalties are punishable by a maximum fine of RM50,000 or imprisonment a year or both. In this regard, the MCMC revealed that enforcement action would be carried out on the basis of complaints from the public in accordance with the provisions of existing law in a transparent manner to protect the rights and interests of the community.
The announcement comes on the back of several leadership changes within Malaysia’s political parties. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad submitted his resignation letter to Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, the Malaysian king and also confirmed the news in a tweet yesterday evening. According to several media reports, the King has accepted Mahathir’s resignation and has appointed him as interim PM.
In addition, there has also been a growing speculation that a new ruling coalition will be formed. A CNA article reported that this will comprise Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) and a Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) splinter faction led by Azmin Ali.
The MCMC has been continuously clamping down on fake news and fraudulent activities on social media. In April 2019, MCMC reported that it took action against 2,823 social media accounts between 2018 and mid-March 2019 to protect consumers from impersonation by irresponsible parties on social media. According to network security and enforcement chief officer Zulkarnain Mohd Yasin, the actions taken by MCMC were in line with public complaint, and stern actions were taken against individuals found to have violated existing laws.