>> Malaysia is the first country to outlaw fake news, and offenders could land in prison for up to six years. On Monday, Prime Minister Najib Razak got a majority in parliament to approve the law for publishing or sharing false information on digital platforms and social media. The law's expected to pass the country's upper House this week and come into effect soon after.
In the lead up to a general election, critics of the new law say they could be used to stifle dissent and imprison journalists. Reuters' Praveen Menon reports that critics call the bill broad and vague.>> It allows the government and the legislative bodies to crack down on anything they believe is fake news.
The bill does not clearly state what is the definition of a fake news, but it allows broad reaching consequences, fines of up to 120, 130,000 US Dollars as well as jail time.>> The government says the law would not violate freedom of speech and cases would fall under an independent court.
Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak is preparing to face a tough battle at the election, which he is likely to call in the coming days. Najib has been dogged by stories for over two years about a multibillion dollar scandal at state fund 1MDB.>> Prime Minister Najib has been struggling with a series of stories about 1MDB, which is a Malaysian state fund, that is now being investigated in over six countries for money laundering and graph.
And Najib founded this state fund, and he is being accused of being involved in this misappropriation. So these investigations and reports on them have been widely reported in the foreign media and through news blogs.>> The government has denied any political motive, but critics of the laws say there's reason to be worried.
Just last month, Malaysia's Deputy Minister for Communications and Multimedia was quoted saying, any news on 1MDB not verified by the government was fake.