PH vows to abolish anti-fake news law

PETALING JAYA: The Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition will abolish the anti-fake news law proposed by the Barisan Nasional (BN) government along with other "oppressive" laws if it succeeds in forming the government.

PH chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the Anti-Fake News Bill 2018 that was tabled in the Senate on Tuesday and the Election Commission's redelineation report which was gazetted last week should have been seriously debated in Parliament and not bulldozed through.

"But the Parliament now has become like a play-acting (sandiwara). There is no seriousness. They passed it within two hours.

"And the other (proposed) law on fake news. Our stand is that when we form the government, we will abolish or repeal these laws along with other laws that are oppressive to the people," he told a press conference after the PH presidential council meeting in Parliament. 

Reiterating the promises made in its manifesto, Mahathir said PH will abolish the Sedition Act 1948, Prevention of Crime Act 1959, Universities and University Colleges Act 1971, Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, the National Security Council Act 2016, and any provision for a mandatory death penalty.

He added that PH will also abolish all the "draconian provisions" in among others the Penal Code, Communications and Multimedia Act, Peaceful Assembly Act and the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

"These laws and provisions will be repealed because they are oppressive," Mahathir said. 

When it was pointed out that most of these laws existed during his tenure as Prime Minister, he said that these laws were not abused then.

"During that time (there was) no abuse of law, (but) now the rule of law does not apply. 

He added that when PH takes over as government the laws enacted will be according to current needs.

"We will go by needs at that time, and the law we will pass will not be cruel and will not have abuse of law and not oppress the people.

"Currently there is a need to abolish certain laws because many have been too exposed to abuse," he said.