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Suspect detained by MCMC for spreading fake news on Coronavirus outbreak

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 29): The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has detained a suspect for allegedly spreading fake news on the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak.

A statement issued by MCMC today stated that the suspect, aged 34, was arrested in Bangi, Selangor, at 4pm yesterday for investigation on a posting that was uploaded on a Facebook page last Jan 26.

“The content on the coronavirus is found to be false. Also seized were a handphone and a sim card belonging to the suspect,which were believed to be used to upload the content on the Facebook page,” it said.

The case is being investigated under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, which provides a maximum fine of RM50,000, or imprisonment for up to a year, or both, and shall also be liable to a further fine of RM1,000 for every day during which the offence is continued after conviction.

“This stern action is part of efforts by MCMC and the police to curb the spread of unverified news on coronavirus by irresponsible quarters as it could undermine stability and public order in the country,’ it said.

Last Monday, MCMC and the police have issued stern waning that strict action would be taken against those responsible for spreading rumours or fake news on the coronavirus outbreak in Malaysia.

Those responsible for spreading such news with intent to cause public fear or panic can be charged under Section 505 of the Penal Code which provides an imprisonment for up to two years, or a fine or both, if convicted.

“MCMC and the police are taking this matter seriously and are actively looking for three more suspects to assist in the investigation. This demonstrates the commitment by both parties in ensuring that appropriate action is taken against those who initiate, share and disseminate fake news through social media platforms,” said MCMC.

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