KUCHING: Constant fake news on social media are inciting hatred for and misunderstanding of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and state government leaders.
A political secretary to the chief minister, Michael Tiang, who made this observation, called for the immediate elimination of such fake news as they hampered the fight against Covid-19.
Fake and malicious posts that smear the reputations of ministers, for example, are still making their rounds although several state leaders had repeatedly reminded everyone to minimise politicking (at least for the time being) as the fight against Covid-19 takes precedence over most things.
Last Friday, Tiang felt it incumbent on him to lodge a police report after he came across an April 11 Facebook post in Mandarin on a page bearing the handle, ‘Sarawak Largest Voice Society’.
The post stated that while the fight against Covid-19 was going on, GPS was playing politics. It alleged that RM800,000 in Covid-19 relief funds for the opposition constituencies of Padungan, Pending, Batu Lintang and Sentosa were controlled by Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian.
The article claimed that the opposition did not receive any food aid, so lawmakers from the Democratic Action Party (DAP) had to use their own money to buy food and pay volunteers who risked getting infected when they distributed aid to the needy.
“After the article was published, on the same day, another Facebook user by the name of Ngu Piew Seng shared and referred to the malicious post when he accused politicians of abusing their powers for personal gain.
“The government has clarified umpteenth times that the funds for food aid are channelled to local disaster management committees through Residents and district officers. None of the assemblymen, be they from GPS or the opposition, personally receive funds for food aid,” he explained in a statement issued yesterday.
Tiang urged all those who spread fake news to stop immediately and just stay home doing something constructive to support the frontliners who are risking their lives daily to fight the pandemic.
“Sarawakians must to be united in the fight against Covid-19. The state government has taken steps to provide various relief packages for the needy as well as small-medium enterprises (SMEs).
“This is not the time to tarnish the reputations of ministers to gain some brownie points. To gain victory over Covid-19, we need to stand together to avoid the terrifying consequences experienced by Italy, Spain and United States,” he said.