Illustrative photo (Photo: Human Rights Watch)

Kuala Lumpur (VNA) – The Malaysian parliament has repealed a law against fake news introduced earlier this year by the government of former Prime Minister Najib Razak.

The parliament on August 16 debated a motion to abolish the law for about three hours before passing it by a simple vote.

Najib's government secured a simple majority in April to pass the Anti-Fake News 2018 bill, which set out fines of up to 500,000 ringgit (123,000 USD) and jail of up to six years.

Critics denounced the law as repressive and accused Najib of trying to curb free speech ahead of the general election as his government tried to fend off criticism over accusations of graft and mismanagement.

During the election campaign, the Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) promised to abrogate the law if it won the election in May. The PH coalition of former PM Mahathir Mohamad secured 113 out of the parliament’s 222 seats.

Malaysia is among the first few countries to introduce an anti-fake news law although other regional countries, including Singapore and the Philippines, have said they are considering how to tackle fake news.-VNA