NGO appeals to public not to circulate unverified news

Datuk Lau Pang Heng

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KUCHING, Nov 29: Sarawak Community Policing Association (SCPA) is urging the public not to circulate news of unauthenticated origin, because it would create anxiety among the people.

SCPA chairman Datuk Lau Pang Heng said he, among the many people who have been receiving unverified and unauthenticated news recently, was asked to forward and viral it on social media, including through messaging app WhatsApp.

“In the past weeks, members of SCPA have received many unauthentic crime news from members of the community.

“A 2014 case of a missing vehicle at Premier 101 was circulated yesterday on social media. Many believed that it was a true happening on Nov 28, 2018, in Kuching. It created a lot of anxiety.

“I have received messages from many friends asking me to pass the news on to my friends. Upon checking, I came to know that that case happened in August 2014,” he said in a media release today.

Lau also cited another case last week, where a video clip was circulated concerning a vehicle theft at a petrol station. The case did not happen in Kuching at all, he affirmed.

“The circulation of unauthentic crime news on social media may create unnecessary confusion, anxiety and citizen perception on fear of crime.

“Those who circulate fake news may be punishable under the law in our country,” he warned.

Lau said circulating or viraling unverified news, especially those involving crime, would paint a negative picture of Kuching to outsiders and even among citizens.

“Kuching is a safe place. In our recent survey, citizen perception on fear of crime is 19.7 per cent. Kuching is one of the safest cities in Malaysia, thanks to Kuching community cohesion and communal living,” he said.

Lau, on behalf of SCPA, called upon members of the public to check with the police before circulating crime news on social media.

He explained that social media impacts people’s daily life and many would tend to believe the news as circulated.

“SCPA recommends that let us play a role in fighting crime by not creating fear of crime in the neighbourhood,” said Lau. — DayakDaily