Wuhan Virus: Man arrested in Malaysia for spreading fake news on FB

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) with the help of the Royal Malaysian Police has detained a person that was suspected for spreading false news on the Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCov). The 34-year-old individual was arrested in his home in Bangi, Selangor at 4.00pm on Tuesday to assist with investigations.

According to MCMC’s statement, it is believed that the individual had shared content related to the Novel Coronavirus via Facebook on 26th January 2020 which was found to be false. The authorities have also confiscated the person’s phone and SIM card which are believed to be used to upload the content.

Both MCMC and PDRM have also identified three more individuals and they are taking necessary action against those that create, share and spread falsehoods through social media platforms. According to Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department director Datuk Huzir Mohamed, investigations were launched into four separate Facebook posts and one WhatsApp exchange.

Sharing false information with the intention to create fear, panic and annoyance is an offence under Section 505 of the Penal Code which carries a fine and/or a jail sentence of up to two years. It is also a violation under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) which carries a maximum fine of up to RM100,000 or imprisonment up to one year, or both.

The general public is urged not to spread false and unverified information. A group of Malaysian Health Professionals had called upon all Malaysians to take a strong, calm and sensible response to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.

Fake News on Coronavirus in Malaysia

The Ministry of Health has compiled a list of false news that have been debunked so far. Irresponsible individuals have spread fake news ranging from death by mandarin orange, China residents fleeing to Langkawi and admission of coronavirus patients in multiple hospitals which have all been debunked.

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7 confirmed cases in Malaysia so far

At the moment, Malaysia currently has 7 confirmed Noval Coronavirus cases with zero deaths reported so far. Globally there are a total of 6,059 cases with China having the most at 5,974 cases, followed by Thailand at 14, Hong Kong and Taiwan with 8 cases each. There are 132 deaths so far which is currently limited to China.

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