Stop Draconian Laws On Pretext of Emergency, Bring Back Parliamentary Democracy

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Press Statement By Michael Kong:

The recent Emergency (Essential Powers) (No. 2) Ordinance 2021 is another sign that we are going back to the dark ages. It is worth noting that this Ordinance resembles the Anti-Fake News Act which was passed by the BN government just before the 14th General Election and which was subsequently repealed by PH. This illustrates how PN has repeatedly shown that it is equally as draconian, if not more, than BN.

The latest Ordinance now allows a punishment of a fine not exceeding RM100,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both. For those who fails to remove the purported ‘fake news’, there will be a further fine not exceeding RM1,000 for each day the offence continues after conviction.

While it is true there is a need to curb misinformation, the Ordinance gives too much power to cripple others. Even our local politicians are guilty of spreading misinformation on one or two occasions. Our own mayor, Wee Hong Seng had on 19.01.2021 spread misinformation when he posted that Sarawak recorded a total of 321 Covid-19 positive cases the day before. While it was subsequently taken down shortly after it was posted, the damage was already done and fear or alarm was already caused to the public.

While strict enforcement against fake news may be required, it must be done properly and within the confines of the Federal Constitution. The people’s freedom as enshrined under the Federal Constitution must not be robbed from them.

A proper reading of the Ordinance will show that it is not only confined to Covid-19 itself but also applicable to those who spread information on the proclamation of emergency. PN cannot be proclaiming emergency yet at the same time stopping people from discussing the state of emergency. We are not a military state and PN should not take advantage of the situation to stifle dissenting voices who disapprove and question the motive for the proclamation of emergency. This constant attitude of bullying the people into submission to the PN government must be put to a stop.

Michael Kong Feng Nian
Special Assistant to YB Chong Chieng Jen