,Emergency laws including the latest ordinance supposedly to combat "fake news" will be tabled for repeal in Parliament at its next sitting after the emergency declaration has been lifted, de facto law minister Takiyuddin Hassan said today.Speaking at a press conference in Putrajaya on the newly gazetted ordinance to combat "fake news" on Covid-19 and the emergency, Takiyuddin said it would be in effect for as long as the emergency declaration is not lifted. "If the emergency is lifted on Aug 1, that means after that we will not use the ordinance anymore," he said. "If there is no Parliament (sitting), the ordinance will be annulled automatically after six months. But it can't be that there is no Parliament, there will be (a sitting)," he said.He cited Article 150(7) of the Federal Constitution which states that any ordinance not repealed by Parliament within six months from the last day of an emergency declaration will be automatically annulled. Communications and Multimedia Minister Saifuddin Abdullah, who also present during the press conference at his ministry in Putrajaya, said it was quite clear that the ordinance had a shelf life of six months after the emergency has been lifted. "Once again critics are stretching their arguments [...] it (the ordinance) is not going to be (used) forever," he said. Saifuddin said the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, as the country's Internet regulator, was fighting the "fake news war" in 2021 with outdated "weapons" under the Communications Act 1998."At that time, we didn't know the speed at which fake news can be shared," he said, adding that the provisions of the latest ordinance were required to expedite the process of taking action. Among others, the Emergency (Essential Powers) (No. 2) Ordinance 2021 dated March 11 and which takes effect today, states that perpetrators who spread "fake news" in writing, videos, audio recordings or in any other form that may convey "words or ideas" will face action.The ordinance grants the courts power to order the removal of a publication if it is determined to be "fake news", failing which the court may order the police or an authorised officer to do so.The ordinance also overrides the Evidence Act 1950 and gives the police the powers to arrest, enforce, investigate and inspect.The punishment would be a fine not exceeding RM100,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both and in the case of a continuing offence, a further fine not exceeding RM1,000 for each day the offence continues after conviction.
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