Malaysia’s ruling Barisan Nasional party tabled a bill in parliament on Monday to address ‘fake news’, as the country gears up for national elections.
If the bill becomes law as it stands, those guilty of “creating, offering, or publishing fake news” could be fined over 100,000 dollars and jailed for up to 10 years.
Malaysia is expected to hold national elections soon, and the new law has prompted critics of the government to
suspect that it is trying to distract from a scandal involving state fund 1MDB.
Prime Minister Najib Razak has denied allegations of being involved with funds, allegedly from 1MDB, found in his personal bank account, as exposed by foreign media in 2015.
Najib will be contesting the elections against ex-premier Mahathir Mohamad.
The polls must take place before August 24.