Human rights groups say ‘fake news’ law may stifle whistleblowing

Source: The Star Online

Image taken from The Star Online.

PETALING JAYA: A coalition of human rights groups has called on the Government to drop a proposed law to tackle fake news, saying it will stop people from speaking out on wrongs in the country.

“‘Fake news’ may be an increasingly popular buzzword, but it cannot serve as an excuse for the Government to censor criticism,” the coalition said in a statement Friday (March 23).

“We urge the Government to drop the proposed Bill, which we believe is yet another attempt to stifle debate and criminalise those who speak out against corruption and human rights violations,” they said.

The coalition, made up of 14 human rights groups in Malaysia, said that the Bill on fake news would add to a range of laws that have been used to violate the right to freedom of expression and undermine media freedom.

They said that with the upcoming general election, they are concerned that the Bill could be used as a dragnet to make it a crime to report on government misconduct and give critical opinions.

“Malaysian authorities have selectively prosecuted Opposition politicians, human rights defenders and journalists under existing laws for exercising their right to freedom of expression,” said the statement. Read more

38 Orang Asli appointed as APM forest rangers

Source: The Malaysian Insight

Orang Asli recruitment for the Civil Defence Force will be expanded to Terengganu, Pahang, and Perak, says chief commissioner Azmy Yahya. – Facebook pic, March 23, 2018.

THIRTY-EIGHT Orang Asli have been appointed as Civil Defence Force (APM) forest rangers to help the Forestry Department monitor illegal clearing and occupation of forest areas in Kelantan.

APM chief commissioner Azmy Yahya said recruitment would be expanded to Terengganu, Pahang, and Perak.

“The number of Orang Asli forest rangers will be increased from time to time. They’ll be the eyes and ears for the government against encroachment of forest land in their areas,” he said at the launch of the Gua Musang APM Volunteer Squad by Gua Musang lawmaker Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah in Gua Musang last night. Read more

Malaysia’s election process explained

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Malaysian electoral votes being taken for counting — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 — Here is a quick breakdown of Malaysia’s election process based on the first-past-the-post system in a parliamentary democracy.

The 14th general election must be held by August 24this year.

1. Parliament is dissolved

The ball starts rolling the day Parliament is dissolved, which has yet to happen for the14th general election.

This sometimes happens once every four years, but a full term is five years.

The Yang Di-Pertuan Agong officially dissolves Parliament upon advice from the prime minister, who is currently Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

When Parliament is dissolved, the election is to be held within 60 days. Read more

Govt to block websites, portals causing ‘chaos’ before GE14

Source: The Malaysian Insight

COMMUNICATIONS and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak said the government will block any website or portals that ’cause chaos’ before the 14th general election (GE14).

Salleh said his ministry is cooperating with the police to identify such portals and action will be taken under the Communications and Multimedia Act.

“Of course, we will take action against whoever who breaks the law. If they are found to be causing a ruckus, we will take the appropriate actions.  

“We have not received any reports so far but we are always monitoring and we will wait for the proper documentation from authorities to block websites or portals if needed,” he was quoted as saying by Utusan Online. Read more