Danish citizen jailed under new Malaysian anti-fake news law

Danish national Salah Salem Saleh Sulaiman, second from right, escorted by police, arrives at a court house in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Monday, April 30, 2018. The court on Monday sentenced Salah to a week in jail after he pleaded guilty to maliciously publishing fake news, the first person to be punished under the controversial law. Salah was detained on April 23, two days after he claimed in a YouTube video that he was with a Palestinian man who was gunned down by two assailants on a motorcycle. (AP Photo)

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — A Malaysian court on Monday sentenced a Danish citizen to a week in jail after he pleaded guilty to maliciously publishing false information, the first person to be punished under a controversial anti-fake news law.

The legislation was approved by parliament earlier this month despite criticism that it was aimed at silencing dissent ahead of a May 9 general election. It carries a maximum penalty of six years in jail and a fine of 500,000 ringgit ($128,000).

Salah Salem Saleh Sulaiman was detained April 23, two days after he claimed in a YouTube video that he was with a Hamas scientist who was gunned down in Malaysia by two assailants on a motorcycle. Salah claimed he made countless calls to police who were slow to respond, and that an ambulance came an hour later.

Local media said Salah didn't personally know the victim, Fadi al-Batsh, a Palestinian electrical engineering lecturer in Malaysia who was a member of Gaza's ruling Hamas group.

The court sentenced Salah, who is of Yemeni descent and is in Malaysia on a holiday, to a week in jail from the day of his arrest and fined him 10,000 ringgit ($2,550).

Local media quoted Salah, who was not represented by a lawyer, as telling the court that he had only been in Malaysia for 10 days and didn't know the country had an anti-fake news law. He said his action was a mistake and apologized.

Salah reportedly said he didn't have money to pay the fine and will have to serve another month in jail instead.

Must Read

On Penang island, it's all about art, eats and old streets

Nov 28, 2017

Penang in Malaysia is the rare tropical island where hitting the town beats lazing on the beach

Malaysia to pay US firm up to $70M if it finds missing plane

Jan 11, 2018

Malaysia's government will pay U.S. company Ocean Infinity up to $70 million if it can find the...

Faulty Takata air bag kills 6th person in Malaysia

Jan 30, 2018

Japanese carmaker Honda says another person has died in Malaysia after a flawed Takata air bag...

Malaysia opposition pledges to axe tax, investigate scandal

Mar 9, 2018

Malaysia's opposition coalition has pledged to axe an unpopular good and services tax and reopen...

Campaigning starts in Malaysia's May 9 election race

Apr 28, 2018

Campaigning has formally started for Malaysia's May 9 general elections that will determine if...

Weather, 20 December
Houston Weather
+7

High: +11° Low: -2°

Humidity: 83%

Wind: NNE - 7 KPH

Canberra Weather
+27

High: +27° Low: +17°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: W - 20 KPH

Roissy-en-France Weather
+6

High: +6° Low: -5°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: ENE - 7 KPH

Florence Weather
+9

High: +9° Low: +6°

Humidity: 97%

Wind: ENE - 17 KPH

Parga Weather
+7

High: +16° Low: +4°

Humidity: 100%

Wind: SE - 25 KPH

About Us

In Malaysia Corner, we’re here to bring back those days where you can still catch up with everyday news no matter which corner you are at.