Yesterday (2 June), a 28 year-old housewife from Kangar, Perlis became the first person in Malaysia to be pleaded guilty under the new Emergency (Essential Powers) (No. 2) Ordinance 2021 for spreading fake news on COVID-19.
The fine imposed on her by the Sessions Court was RM5,000 after charges against her were read before Judge Musyiri Peet.
The housewife had on 18 April sent out messages that said that there were multiple Covid-19 cases in a school in Arau. The message was circulated and it incited fear and panic in the community staying in the area.
The said school immediately went on investigating the matter and lodged a police report over the circulation of the fake message on 20 April. Meanwhile, the police officers found that there were only 1 person in the whole school was tested positive for Covid-19.
As reported by Harian Metro, the prosecutor had requested an appropriate punishment to be imposed so as to set an example to the public not to simply share or upload news that is not proven true.
On the other hand, her lawyer had requested for leniency as the accused was pregnant. In addition, she has to take care of two children and her husband had recently lost his job as a lorry driver.
Under Section 4(1) of the Emergency Ordinance (Essential Powers) (No 2) 2021, those found guilty can be fined up to a maximum of RM100,000, be imprisoned for up to three years or both. Given the situation the housewife is in, the judge later imposed a fine of RM5,000 or a 5 months jail if she fails to pay the fine.
As a reminder to all, if you are not sure about the contents of the message, be sure to check the facts before you share it. The Malaysian Government had launched sebenarnya.my primarily for the public to verify the facts.
Stop spreading fake news if you are unsure of its contents!
Check the video here!