KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians have been warned to stop spreading false information on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
Those caught spreading false information, rumours or fake news on the coronavirus will face legal action, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and police said.
In a joint statement, they said police and MCMC would no longer tolerate any action involving spreading false news on the 2019-nCoV which could lead to fear, panic or anger to the public, causing further disruption and harm to the country's stability.
“The police and MCMC have identified four individuals to assist in the investigation of distributing fake news related to the 2019-nCoV.
“Based on observation by the police and the MCMC, it was found that social media and online messaging platforms are the main platform used to distribute fake news about the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
“The public is urged to first verify any kind the information or news about the 2019-nCoV, obtained from third parties apart from the Health Ministry, before sharing it to others,” the statement read.
The public is also advised to check the latest information from the official Health Ministry website
Those caught spreading fake news may be prosecuted under Section 505 of the Penal Code which carries a maximum jail term of two years or fine or both.
The public can also be charged under the Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 which carries a maximum fine of RM100,000 or a year's jail or both.
The virus has so far claimed 56 lives across China since it emerged in Wuhan on Dec 31 last year.
As of today, Malaysia has recorded four positive cases, with all the patients being tourists from China.