KOTA BARU - The Government is looking into introducing laws to curb fake news, which is a threat to political stability and public order, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
He said the move was necessary because the people could be instigated to hate the Government or commit uprisings due to the influence of fake news.
“We don’t want fake news to spread. This does not mean we control the Internet. The Internet is free, but the freedom must exist with elements of accountability,” he told reporters here after attending a gathering with Kelantan federal and state civil servants here yesterday.
Giving an example, Najib said the Opposition made a now-debunked claim during the last general election that 40,000 Bangladeshis were roped in to cast their votes for the Barisan Nasional.
It was reported that Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May wanted to set up a new unit to intensify efforts to address the spread of fake news and prevent the dissemination of inaccurate information by other countries.
French President Emmanuel Macron said he wanted to introduce a new law that banned fake news on the Internet during the country’s election campaign.
Earlier, during a gathering with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), Najib said Barisan Nasional was banking on their help to serve as a third force in developing the country.
He said NGOs could be a source of strength for the Government because they have the power to shape the mindset of the grassroots.
“NGOs are opinion leaders. They can mobilise changes at the grassroots because the Government cannot do everything by itself.
“With NGOs acting as the third force, it only makes the Government stronger and more effective,” he said when addressing some 1,500 members of Kelantan NGOs from various ethnic groups in the state.
The Prime Minister also urged NGOS to choose the right leaders so all plans for the betterment of the people could be realised.
“We want Kelantan on board as we march forward to a better future, and that is why Kelantan should be led by Barisan Nasional,” he said.
Kelantan has been ruled by PAS since 1990.
Najib also said the Federal Government had planned to build a new stadium in the state to encourage youths to be more active in sports.
“In my meeting with Umno leaders here, they voiced out the need for a new stadium. I certainly want to see this materialise,” he added.
During a speech to Kelantan civil servants at the Wisma Persekutuan here, he called on them to go out and cast their votes when the general election is called.
Najib also announced RM572mil allocation for the first phase of the Sungai Kelantan integrated river basin development projects to reduce floods that can affect at least 100,000 of the state’s residents.
The project is expected to be completed within the stipulated 40 months.