Anti-Fake News Bill: BN Sarawak has failed Sarawakians, says DAP

Yii (centre), Abdul Aziz (right) and DAP Sarawak Youth chief Mordi Bimol at the press conference.

KUCHING, April 6: The passing of the Anti-Fake News Bill 2018 in Parliament is proof that Barisan Nasional (BN) Sarawak representatives have failed to protect the state’s rights, says DAP candidate for Stampin Dr Kelvin Yii.

He said the passing of the law had proven that Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP), Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) and other BN component parties play to the gallery and say one thing to the people of Sarawak, but remain silent in Parliament and even in the senate where it matters, ‘kowtowing’ to the wishes of United Malaysa National Organisation (UMNO).

Quoting Sarawak’s 18-point agreement that was based upon the Nine Cardinal Principles of the rule of the English Rajah, Yii pointed out that the right of “freedom of expression both in speech and in writing shall be permitted and encouraged and that everyone shall be entitled to worship as he pleases”.

“This is the clear intention of our forefathers and such rights should have been heavily protected,” Yii, special assistant to DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen, told a press conference today.

The Bill was passed in Parliament on April 2, even though BN Sarawak has full ministers in the cabinet and 25 BN parliamentary members from Sarawak, who all voted for the passing of the bill.

Yii said they have neglected the wishes of the people of Sarawak as well as failed to protect the rights of Sarawak intended by its founding fathers.

This was despite the fact that SUPP president Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian reportedly made a statement at the Kuching Division Journalists Association (KDJA) annual dinner that “there is no need for Parliament to rush into passing the Anti-Fake News Bill, and that he, who is also a Dewan Negara senator hoped to attend the debate of the second reading of the Bill next week, as it would have a great impact on politicians, the government, and also individuals.”

Yii also said it is important to note that Serian MP Datuk Seri Richard Riot who is a full minister and part of SUPP also voted for the passing of the bill.

“If Dr Sim was serious about his concerns, he had every power to asked YB Riot to vote against such a bill or push for it to be further debated. It could have been raised both in the Cabinet meetings and also in Parliament, but he failed to do so in both levels.”

Yii also pointed out that there is no record of Dr Sim objecting to or even debating the Bill in the Senate in the Hansard.

“Even though he made that bold declaration in Sarawak a few days before, but yet when it comes to the wishes of UMNO, he dares not speak up or tends to shy away.

“It is somewhat hypocritical to just say ‘sweet words’ to the people when you are in Sarawak, but then choose to remain silent in places where it matters, even if it involves the rights and interest of us Sarawakians.”

Yii stressed that he was fighting against fake news, but he was against any legislation created purely to be used by the ruling government to control the dissemination of news especially news that made them uncomfortable or threatened their position in a democratic society.

Meanwhile, Abdul Aziz Isa, also Chong’s special assistant, said that the police would be too busy with fake news instead of solving crimes, after the passing of the Anti-Fake News Bill.

He asked whether the empty promises given by BN before each election, such as the Sri Aman Hospital, is considered “fake news” and whether the people can lodge a report against BN. — DayakDaily