Malaysian lawmakers yesterday voted to repeal a controversial law that punished spreading “fake news” with up to six years behind bars and which critics said was aimed at stifling dissent.
As well as hefty jail terms, under the legislation those who disseminated what authorities deemed false news -- via any medium, from print to social networks -- could be fined up to 500,000 ringgit ($120,000).
It was the second attempt by the lower house to overturn the law after MPs voted to repeal it last year only for the opposition-controlled upper chamber to block it.
But the upper house is only able to block a bill once, meaning it should still now be repealed even if lawmakers there vote it down again.
The legislation was pushed through last year by the former, scandal-tainted regime in the run-up to a hotly contested general election, sparking a storm of anger.