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Singaporean minister sued over false news law

Agence France-Presse

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AFP) — Singapore’s interior minister was sued Friday by a Malaysian human rights group in a bid to prevent the city-state from enforcing its law against false information in Malaysia.

Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam, wielding a new law to fight misinformation, had ordered Lawyers for Liberty to correct last week’s post alleging the city-state used a brutal “coup de grace” to finish off botched executions.

Singapore has denied the allegations as “untrue, baseless and preposterous” but the Malaysian rights group stood by its claims and refused to issue a correction notice.

Under Singapore’s law, failure to comply with a correction directive is an offence punishable with a fine and jail term.

N. Surendran, an advisor for Lawyers for Liberty, said the group were asking the Malaysian High Court to declare the Singapore directive “null and void” and unenforceable in Malaysia.

“This is an attempt by Singapore to encroach upon or to stifle or to crackdown on freedom of speech in our country,” Surendran told reporters.

“It is an attempt to reach out their tentacles and impose their own oppressive fake news act on Malaysians issuing statements in Malaysia.”

Under the law, Singaporean authorities can order corrections placed next to posts they deem false. Malaysia repealed a similar power in 2019.

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