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Pharmacy Assistants among 4 detained for spreading fake news on Wuhan Virus

In an effort to tackle the spread of fake news about the Wuhan Coronavirus, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) have detained four more individuals today. Four separate raids were conducted today in Melaka, Kedah and Pahang between 11.00am to 5.00pm. The four suspects were detained to record their statements.

According to MCMC’s latest statement, a 49-year-old part-time tutor was arrested in Alor Setar at 12.00pm for allegedly posting false information on Facebook on 25th January 2020. Two pharmacy assistants aged 25-years-old and 30-years-old were detained in Peringgit and Merlimau, Melaka at approximately 4.00pm for purportedly uploading false content on Facebook on 26th January 2020.

The fourth person to be detained is a 24-year-old student in Kuantan, Pahang on the suspicion of spreading false information via Twitter on 27th January 2020. In today’s raid, a total of four phones, five SIM cards and two memory cards were confiscated from the four suspects. The four individuals will be investigated under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act which carries a maximum fine up to RM100,000. Sharing false information with the intention to create fear, panic and annoyance is also an offence under Section 505 of the Penal Code which carries a fine and/or a jail sentence of up to two years. The first suspect for circulating fake news on the Coronavirus was detained yesterday in Bangi, Selangor.

The MCMC and RMP will continue to increase their enforcement to control the spread of fake news through social media and instant messaging platforms. As of 10am today, there are 7 confirmed Coronavirus cases in Malaysia with zero fatalities reported.

As always, if you’re not sure, don’t share. For the latest info on the coronavirus situation in Malaysia, you can follow the Ministry of Health via Facebook or Twitter.

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Alexander Wong