Malaysians need to be careful where they get information on Covid-19 and vaccines from- legal expert
KUALA LUMPUR - Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee Chairman Vivek Sukumaran said people need to be more careful on where they source information on Covid-19 and its vaccines.
He was referring to online discussions and analysis about the virus spreading on social media.
Malaysians, he said must be aware whether the sources of information they rely on were authentic since the government has yet taken stricter measures to censor or fact check websites or social media posts containing dangerously false and misleading information on Covid-19 and vaccines.
“If we were to look at 10 portals that provide information about Covid-19 and vaccines, not all of them are credible. A few of them can be misleading to cause public distress.
"During times of crisis, people should put their trust in the Health Ministry and its subordinate authorities by referring to the information provided by them.
“As the ones tasked with the research and decision making in regards to the pandemic, the people should refer to the Health Ministry's websites, credible health authorities and probably the companies that produced the vaccines as they have the most accurate information on the vaccine's efficacy and other data,” he told Sinar Daily.
Sukumaran, who is also the Bar Council's national Covid-19 vaccine coordinator said those who have been avoiding themselves from getting vaccinated should not scare others and make them refuse the government’s initiative to overcome the pandemic.
He said anti-vaxxers scaring people by spreading misinformation about vaccines was already a crime on its own.
He said Section 505(b) of the Penal Code makes it a criminal offence for whoever that makes, publishes or circulates any statement, rumour or report with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public, or to any section of the public.
“What some anti-vaxxers are trying to do is discredit the government’s initiatives in giving out vaccines which have caused people to not register for the vaccination and made them have doubts or preference towards certain vaccines without an accurate justification from the relevant authorities on the matter.
“The best vaccines are always the ones first available to us. Unless you have been advised otherwise by the authority, just take what’s made available to you,” he said.