Communications and Digital (KKM) Minister Fahmi Fadzil says that almost two billion scam calls and up to 581 million short messaging services (SMSes) have been blocked with the assistance of telco service providers before they could reach Malaysian consumers.
He was quoted by Bernama saying that the ministry also received a total of 8,499 public complaints related to fraudulent activities from 2020 to April 2023.
Fahmi added that within the same period, 3,370 phishing sites have also been successfully blocked.
Malaysia is managing misinformation, especially from the new media, by focusing on 2Ps — prevention and protection. We are heavily invested in educating and empowering the public with online knowledge and tools to protect themselves.
The Minister led the Malaysian delegation to the 16th Conference of Asean Ministers Responsible for Information (AMRI) in Da Nang, Vietnam.
Special task force to tackle misinformation
To tackle the issue of misinformation, disinformation and fake news, Fahmi mentioned that a task force consisting of various agencies, including the Royal Malaysian Police, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, and the Attorney General’s Chambers has been established to manage unverified news on the new media platforms.
Fahmi added that Malaysia also has set up sites such as Sebenarnya.my and MyCheck Malaysia, that enable the Malaysian public to cross-reference information and report false information.
Sebenarnya.my has an average hits of 4.8 million a month, and is the most effective fact-checking website in Malaysia, according to the Minister.
He said it is critical to ensure that reliable information is disseminated to the masses as misinformation can spell disaster to individuals, communities and nations, especially in the case of new media that have witnessed rapid advancement.
Asean working together to fight fake news
Fahmi said this is in response to AMRI’s Working Group on Information, Media, and Training which has established the Task Force on Fake News (TFFN) that focuses on the role of Media and Information, to share best practices and even come up with shared initiatives in the region to combat fake news.
He noted that during the last Asean Digital Minister’s Meeting (ADGMIN 3) in the Philippines, the Ministers discussed the possibility of setting up a working group to look into misinformation, disinformation and fake news.
The idea was proposed by Thailand and was unanimously accepted by the meeting.
Fahmi noted that Malaysia is playing an active role in creating regional awareness among its people, especially among school children and young adults, and that the Information Department (JaPen) had successfully implemented a range of Asean-related initiatives.