Malaysia’s new Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo has announced on Tuesday (22 May) that the Anti-Fake News Act officially gazetted in April will be abolished.
Mr Singh stated that the proposal to abolish the act would be brought to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad so that it could be abolished as soon as possible, saying, “I have a list that we need to study. I will hold a press conference tomorrow to inform specifically. We have an Anti-Fake News Act. As mentioned in the Pakatan Harapan manifesto, we will repeal it.”
“We will set the time frame, the first 100 days we have to deliver but how much time is required I will discuss with my officials tomorrow. Indeed, I will do it and start work tomorrow at 8.30am sharp,” he stressed.
Speaking to reporters after taking his oath of office, loyalty and secrecy together with 12 other Cabinet Ministers before Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V at Istana Negara, he said that media freedom was his main agenda and he was committed in that regard, which is one of the things mentioned in the Pakatan Harapan manifesto, however, he noted that the matter should be made with reference based on the existing laws.
“Media freedom is my priority. The media churning out news and publishing companies are bound by the existing laws so we have to look at it that way and we have to find ways to improve the freedom of press in the country. And I am committed to do so. I will create a group of legal experts so that they can see the impact of the law so far, where there are shortcomings, we will try to improve,” he said.
He then added that among other things that will be reviewed include several laws related to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) which relates to complaints and investigations into several reported cases.
The Puchong MP said he would also give serious attention to the whole aspect of news reporting and find out how local television systems can compete with international media channels, adding that local media should learn from the international media for a more knowledge-based news delivery.
Mr Singh, who is also DAP deputy chairman holds a Bachelor of Law degree from Warwick University, Britain and was admitted as Barrister-at-Law (Lincoln’s Inn). He was admitted to the Malaysian Bar in 1996 and continues his father, former DAP veteran leader the late Karpal Singh’s legacy.