Screenshot from Straits Times website

The newly-elected Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dr Wan Azizah, hit out at Singapore’s 151st-ranking media Straits Times, for publishing a fake news to destabilise the new Malaysian government.

The Straits Times quoted an anonymous “top PH leader” in it’s article titled “Cracks appear in PH over posts in new Cabinet”:

“Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail – whose party holds the most parliamentary seats in the coalition – is deputy premier, but sources told The Straits Times that she also demanded other senior portfolios for the party. This included the coveted finance portfolio, which Tun Dr Mahathir announced in a press conference on Saturday would instead go to Democratic Action Party (DAP) secretary-general Lim Guan Eng. “She did not question Guan Eng’s capability, but said that a Chinese should not take the role,” a top PH leader said, referring to ethnic political considerations in government posts in Malay-majority Malaysia.”

The new Malaysian ruling government said the Straits Times is spreading rumours to influence it’s politics:

“The claims in the ST article were “completely fabricated and false”. We strongly believe that the finance portfolio must be based on ability,” the leader said, adding that PKR believed Lim, an accountant by training, was suitably qualified for the post. But we don’t appreciate the narrative and claims being made against PKR, painting us as troublemakers. We believe this report is part of a concerted attempt to drive a wedge between PKR and the people, and PH, to push us out of the pact.”

Singapore’s dictator Lee Hsien Loong is a good friend of toppled-PM Najib Razak. The loss of power of Najib Razak resulted in a renegotiation in a number of bilateral deals, including the High Speed Rail and Johor-Woodlands MRT line.

The Singapore government may have a number of laws dealing with fake news, but only individuals critical of the government will be charged. State media Straits Times, CNA and The New Paper have in recent years posted several fake news to gain readership, but the Singapore government has never once press charges against them.

Law Minister K Shanmugam, who championed himself as a “fake news fighter”, is silent on the fake news published Straits Times. As of press time, the fake news article is still online.