Despite the fact that Malaysians are banding together to soldier on through difficult times, it is also important to note that the pandemic has divided the nation into two separate groups: pro-vaxxers and anti-vaxxers.
While we definitely believe that compassion is important and that understanding the reason why people have aberrant views nurtures change and unity when it comes to the vaccines, the same compassion is not applicable to those who purposely spread harmful news to detract people from taking the jab.
Case in point, a housewife was recently sentenced to six months jail and fined RM12,000 for spreading fake news about the vaccines on Facebook.
46-year-old Tengku Noor Azlin pleaded guilty to the charge at the Sessions Court today. She admitted to distributing the news with the intention to cause alarm through her Facebook account Kak Siti Wakembang.
The charge was framed under Section 4(1) of the Emergency (Essential Powers) (No.2) Ordinance 2021 which carries a maximum fine of RM100,000 or maximum jail term of 3 years, or both.
Her actions were deemed harmful because it could potentially dampen Malaysia’s momentum when it comes to achieving herd immunity and lessening the daily Covid-19 cases.
In court, Tengku Noor Azlin was unrepresented and pleaded for the minimum sentence under the grounds that she was unemployed and did not intend for the video to go viral. She said that she only meant to spread the news to her closest friends and family.
With this, the result of the court’s judgement informs the public that spreading uncorroborated news regarding the vaccine can cause serious repercussions.
While it is your own prerogative to take the vaccine, it is harmful to inhibit others from doing so by injecting fear and misinformation into the public.