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Our coverage on COVID‑19

Woman detained for sharing fake news about a supermarket shutdown due to COVID-19

It was reported that a 33-year-old woman was arrested on Sunday for spreading fake news about a supermarket in Bandar Sunway, Seberang Jaya being shut down due to a COVID-19 case. According to Seberang Perai Tengah district police chief ACP Shafee Abd Samad, she was detained after a police report was lodged by the manager of the supermarket.

Based on initial investigations, Shafee said that the woman who’s a trader had posted the news on Facebook after receiving the information from a WhatsApp group with the intention of reminding others to be extra cautious. She admitted that she didn’t verify the authenticity of the information before sharing it on the social media platform.

According to the report, she had posted a status on Facebook which reads “The suspected case at Flat Tuna has been confirmed positive. The patient went shopping at Billion, Bandar Sunway. Billion has been closed until a date to be announced later for sanitisation.”

The post went viral and the woman had deleted the post after she found out about the truth. The management of the supermarket refuted the claims and had lodged a police report as the allegations was viewed as slanderous.

According to the police chief, the case is being investigated under Section 500 of the Penal Code and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998. If found guilty, the offender can be punished with a prison sentence of up to 2 years or with a fine or both. Under the CMA 1998, sharing of offensive and menacing content carries a maximum fine of RM50,000 or a jail term of not more than one year or both.

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As always, if you’re not sure, do not share. Always verify the source of the information before sharing it on social media or through instant messaging.

You can always refer to official channels including the Ministry of Health, credible news sites or verify through MCMC’s fact-checking site sebenarnya.


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Alexander Wong