The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has issued a statement on its website urging the public to not believe in fake messages.
This comes as a fake message titled “Digital monitoring for all smartphone users” is making its rounds on WhatsApp. MCMC said it did not issue the message and advised the public not to spread it. Members of the public are also advised by MCMC to report such fake messages.
According to The Star, the fake message claimed that beginning 4 April, all SMSes and phone calls made using smartphones will be recorded and logged by the regulatory body. It added that all social media accounts, especially WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, WeChat, Gmail and Yahoo Mail will be monitored. Calls made via these platforms will also be under scrutiny.
The message also stated that all smartphones will be connected to a central monitoring system operated by the Ministry of Home Affairs. A list of warnings was also included in the message, such as users are not allowed to make postings against Islam, Malay rulers or touch on anything that involves racism, militant activities or child pornography. It also stated that users who post unverified facts, especially group administrators, will be arrested and taken in for questioning without prior warning.
This news comes after the Malaysian government recently passed an anti-fake news bill in parliament. Under the new law, those found guilty of publishing or disseminating fake news facing up to six years in jail, or face a fine of up to RM500,000, or both. The initial maximum jail term was 10 years.
MY government’s crackdown on fake news: A much needed initiative
MCMC will be asked to monitor bloggers and social media users
BN unveils new portal to tackle fake news ahead of general election
Singapore government casts doubts over social media firms in fighting fake news