MIRI: The public must never engage in rumour-mongering when everyone is being adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kelvin Hii, who is the special assistant to Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Pujut branch chairman Adam Yii, said that with the pandemic having already hurt everyone financially, physically and emotionally, spreading lies and fake news would only ‘be rubbing salt into the wound’.
“The most recent case is a 46-second voice message from an unidentified source, claiming that there is a positive Covid-19 case at one of the markets here, and urges the public not to visit that particular place.
“Making the situation worse, those who have received this voice message, without verifying the facts, have gone on to share it with their friends and family members,” said Hii in a statement yesterday.
According to Hii, spreading rumours could amount to causing damage to one’s reputation and thus, could be charged under Section 505 (b) of Penal Code for intending or being likely to cause fear or alarm to the public, whereby any person might be induced to commit an offence against the state or against public tranquillity.
This Section provides imprisonment that could extend to two years, or with fine, or both, upon conviction.
“When you receive a message, regardless of it being a text or voice message through any communication channel, it is always safer to verify the source first before sharing it with others,” advised Hii.
Meanwhile, he also reiterated the importance for everyone to strictly adhere to the standard operating procedure (SOP) by wearing face masks in public, maintaining proper physical distancing and washing/sanitising their hands regularly – all meant to reduce the risk of being infected by the virus.
“The number of Covid-19 cases is rising, and as our state government is tightening its borders and imposing compulsory quarantine on inbound travellers, all of us must do our part to flatten the curve, so that we could eventually return to our routines as soon as possible,” said Hii.
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