An attempt by Malaysia’s lower house of parliament to repeal a law against “fake news” was blocked by an opposition-run Senate vote on Wednesday.
The vote from the upper house is the first major challenge [Reuters report] against Malaysia’s newly re-elected Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad.
Mohamad, who was elected earlier this year, conducted large changes to the government when he ousted former Prime Minister Najib Razak. The Malaysian parliament under Razak was criticized for the timing of its anti-fake news bill, which was passed [JURIST report] shortly before the May election. In addition to facing a strong opponent, Najib’s administration was also under investigation for corruption and grafting, charges for which were filed in July [JURIST report]. Many who opposed the bill accused Najib of using it to curtail the press’ reporting on the investigation.
In August, the lower house of parliament voted out the anti-fake news bill [JURIST report]. The repeal was denied by the upper house, which is dominated members of the Baron Nasional (BN) coalition, an opposition party. Now the bill will go back to the lower house of parliament for a new vote.