HILMI YAHYA/BOARD OF VISITORS

MO,1/2/2018, KUCHING: The spread of fake news, if not controlled, will create bad perception towards the country. Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahya said a new legislation to address the problem was necessary since there was too much fake news spreading in the social media. Unlike the mainstream media and other established publications, Dr Hilmi said many “news” in the social media was using information which was factually incorrect, not validated, one sided and unfair.

“Many of our younger generation do not bother to check when they find news or allegations hurled against an individual, organisation or the government. “They simply share the fake news in the social media without thinking of the repercussions. “This is why I am all for the introduction of the new law to curb the spread of fake news,” he told reporters after attending a gathering with hospitals’ board of visitors and health clinics’ advisory panels in the southern zone of Sarawak here today.

Present were State Housing and Local Government Minister Professor Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian and State Health Department director Dr Jamilah Hashim. In his speech during the ceremony, Dr Hilmi, who was the Finance Ministry’s former parliamentary secretary, singled out accusations on the country going bankrupt as one fake news that created bad perception against the government. To give credence to the fake news, he said, the perpetrator tried to use the level of the country’s debts against the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) to support their allegation despite lacking knowldge of the real situation.

When he was still with the Finance Ministry, the government had capped the country’s debt to 56 per cent of the GDP. Since then, he said, the Malaysia’s economy has become stronger and the country’s debt plunged to 50.9 per cent of the GDP last year. “In actual fact there are developed nations with debts at 200 per cent if its GDP.

“That country, however, is still progressing and is not bankrupt,” he said.

–NSTP



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