The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) have issued a stern warning against people spreading false, unverified news about the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Malaysia. The commission with the aid of the police has detained an individual for allegedly posting false news on Facebook on 26 January 2020.
The 34-year-old suspect was arrested at his home in Bangi, Selangor at 4.00PM, Tuesday, 28 January to aid in the investigation over contents that were uploaded to Facebook on 26 January, the MCMC revealed in an official media statement. The content pertaining to the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was discovered to contain false information. The authorities confiscated the suspect’s mobile phone and SIM card that were believed to be used to upload the fake news content.
The suspect is detained under Section 233 of the Communication and Multimedia Act (AKM) 1998 which carries a maximum fine of MYR50,000 or imprisonment for up to a year, or both, and shall be liable to a further fine of RM1,000 for every day during which the offence is continued after conviction.
Stern action is taken to ensure that fake news about the virus is not spread by irresponsible individuals that could disrupt public order. Spreading news to cause fear and panic among the public can also be investigated under Section 505 of the Penal Code, which carries two years imprisonment or a fine or both upon conviction, the commission said.
MCMC and PDRM are taking the matter seriously and are currently seeking three other suspects to aid in investigations.
The 2019-nCoV Novel Coronavirus that originated from Wuhan, China has affected thousands in China and other countries. As of 10AM, 29 January 2020, a total of 6,059 cases have been reported with China topping the list with 5,974 cases and 132 deaths.
There have been seven reported cases in Malaysia so far (Data: Ministry of Health (KKM)).
Members of the public are advised to refer to the official Health Ministry website www.moh.gov.my/ or the World Health Organisation (WHO) (https://www.who.int/) for the latest updates on the 2019-nCoV.
Header image: Bernama