by Khush Chopra
Stunning. Take note my dear fellow Singaporean’s. Take careful heed.
Speaking at a press conference to wrap up a series of annual Ministerial meetings during Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s visit to Malaysia on Tuesday (9 April), Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir tells Pinky quite literally to his face that the real problem with fake news laws is not fake news but Governments abusing such laws and perpetrating fake news themselves to maintain power.
I know that this fake law will be passed into law here but forevermore let the record show that Lee Hsien Loong failed, neglected and/or refused to contradict Mahathir on his levelling the most damning indictment of the law our parliament will soon pass that anyone let alone a Prime Minister could level against such a law.
Let history never forget this day and what happened on the global stage for all to see for even before this law has been passed we have the Prime Minister of another country literally forewarning us here as to the true intent and purpose of the fake news law.
If Mahathir one of neighbouring Malaysia’s most authoritarian leaders in the past is not qualified to tell us what the game plan for such laws are, who is?
It is a very rare sight indeed to see one Prime Minister of one country make another Prime Minister look so small that that Prime Minister probably wished that a hole would open up on the ground beneath him and just swallow him to remove him from the misery of suffering Mahathir speaking truth to power.
Watch Lee Hsien Loong’s body language and facial expressions of both of them in the video recording of that segment of the press conference.
Acknowledging on the one hand that there is most certainly harmful content on the internet, Mahathir pointed out that on the other a “Fake News” or online falsehoods law suffered from the fatal flaw of the possibility of an abuse of power.
Between the two possible harms, Malaysia feels it is much worse to allow a Government to have such powers that it could abuse to maintain power than to allow harm from fake news which he felt Malaysia would find ways to manage.
I have said before on an earlier post on Facebook.
“This will become the most egregious attack on our freedom of speech ever. The proposed law will not save us from falsehoods but will consign us to a future of PAP falsehoods. The proposed law will allow the ruling party to propagate it’s false propaganda and stop Singaporean’s from challenging their falsehoods.”
While Mahathir said this:
“For us, we need to learn how to handle such fake news. When we have laws that prevent people from airing their views, then we are afraid the government may abuse the law as it has happened in the last government…”
We do not want any government, whether this or succeeding governments, to make use of this law in order to tell and create fake news in order to sustain themselves. Of course it will be difficult to handle, but we believe we can accept the challenges and we can handle that,”
Is there anything in what Mahathir said that was relevant to Singapore? I say every word he said was relevant to us in Singapore.
Singapore of course has clearly chosen to not just put our country in a position where power may be abused but worse it is my view that the PAP Government will appropriate for itself powers that it will most certainly abuse for political gain as it has done time and again.
Don’t take my word for it. Listen carefully to Mahathir.
This post was first published by Mr Chopra on his Facebook page and reproduced with permission