SUNGAI BESAR� Selangor, Malaysia’s most developed state, recorded the highest number of complaints on the new media last year with 577, according to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

Senior director of its Advocacy and Outreach Division, Eneng Faridah Iskandar said this number formed 25 per cent of the total of 2,319 received last year involving fake news, and vulgar and offensive content among them, compared to 742 in 2016.

“The Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur received the second highest number, with 391 complaints followed by Sarawak, with 344,” she said when met at the roadshow at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Sungai Besar, the first location in a series of 24 across the country, this year.

Also present was the Member of Parliament for Sungai Besar, Budiman Mohd Zohdi.

Eneng Faridah said the rise in the number of complaints received was due to increasing public awareness of the role they should play in tackling the issue of fake news and irresponsible writings.

“The introduction of the portal in March 2017 has also contributed to the increased number of complaints as the public could earlier verify the authenticity of the news before lodging complaints,” he said.

On MCMC’s efforts in countering false news in the run-up to the 14th general election (GE14), Eneng Faridah said it was collaborating with 22 ministries and about relevant 100 agencies.

She said through this cooperation, the ministries and agencies needed to issue an official statement within 24 hours in the event of dissemination of fake news about them.

“We expect the viralling of fake news to increase further with the GE14 approaching, especially on the government agency involved directly with the elections.

“Therefore, immediate action should be taken to avoid the credibility and transparency of the agency or the election results from being disputed,” she said.