After Indonesia, now it is Malaysia’s turn to face fake news regarding Chinese nationals who have been allegedly granted citizenship.
Opponents to President Joko (Jokowi) Widodo have one trick up their sleeves: Accusing the government of discriminately granting citizenship to Chinese nationals and allowing them to take up jobs coveted by Indonesians.
These allegations were never proven though many social media users in Indonesia still believe it is true. They are still fighting over this issue.
This plague has now reached Malaysia for reasons unknown to everyone.
On Monday, Malaysia’s National Registration Department (NRD) lodged a police report against several social media users whom it says spread rumours it granted citizenship to Chinese nationals.
The fake news has been circulating online for a month, in which they falsely accuse the department of indiscriminately granting citizenship to Chinese nationals.
The social media posts featured pictures of alleged Chinese nationals on a blue Malaysian identification card, a card issued only to citizens of Malaysia. Foreigners are usually granted the Red coloured ID.
NRD director general Ruslin Jusoh told reporters at a press conference after making a police report on the matter, “The information spread through social media is false, and the report is to enable the police to conduct a thorough investigation.”
He said it was not true the NRD discriminates by granting Malaysian citizenship to certain foreign nationals.
“This is not true and for the record, we do not choose applicants based on their ancestry or nationality in granting them Malaysian citizenship,” Ruslin said.
Malaysia has given extensive freedom to social media users since May last year after the tight victory registered by the Pakatan Harapan coalition headed by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
But some quarters are using this freedom to stoke racial tensions, spread fake news and create dissent among Malaysians.
South China Morning Post quoted an expert who said the fake news came at a time when the relations between ethnic Chinese Malaysians and indigenous Malays “are at their lowest ebb.” -/TISG