A housewife and a tutor were the first individuals in the country to be charged in court under the emergency ordinance for spreading fake news related to Covid-19 infections and vaccines for the virus.
In Perlis, Norjannah Rusli, 28, was fined RM5,000 in default of five months’ jail by the Kangar Sessions Court after pleading guilty to spreading fake news pertaining to the pandemic on WhatsApp, with the intention of creating fear and concern among the public.
The offence was committed at a house in Jalan Pauh, Kampung Belukar, Arau at 10.31am on April 18.
The charge was framed under Section 4(1) of the Emergency Ordinance (Essential Powers) (No.2) 2021 which carries a maximum fine of RM100,000, a jail term of up to three years or both.
Judge Musyiri Peet advised the mother of two to be more responsible as the country was still dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.
On April 20, Bernama reported that the Perlis state education department had lodged a police report over claims that nine students from Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Guar Nangka had tested positive for Covid-19, which caused panic among parents and school students in the state.
Meanwhile, in Johor, tutor Mohd Nazaruddin Yusoff, 50, pleaded not guilty at the Johor Bahru Sessions Court to a charge of posting fake news on Facebook regarding deaths due to Covid-19 vaccine.
He was charged with committing the offence with the same intention, under the same ordinance.
The offence was allegedly committed at the Pontian district police headquarters at 11.50am on April 21.
Judge Ahmad Fuad Othman fixed bail at RM8,000 with one surety and set July 7 for mention.
The Emergency Ordinance (Essential Powers) (No.2) 2021 defines fake news as news or information that is wholly or partially false relating to Covid-19 or the proclamation of emergency.
The ordinance came into effect on March 12.