The Personal Contact programme was held at Kampong Batu Apoi in Mukim Batu Apoi yesterday, keeping participants abreast with information on government policies and other current issues.
The programme – organised by the Information Department, Prime Minister’s Office – also serves as a platform for public feedback, which the government can use to make improvements.
Acting Director of Information cum delegation head Siti Bismi Nuruliman binti Haji Emzah discussed, among others, the issue of spreading false information in the digital era.
Information travels fast through applications such as WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, she explained, adding that false information can stir among the populace feelings of fear and anxiety.
She also shared ways to identify the characteristics of fake news.
Siti Bismi Nuruliman pointed out that even more worrying is when false or slanderous information is accepted as the truth – without first referring to authentic sources, and go viral to the extent that it affects the communal harmony and national security.
Section 34, Chapter 148 of the Public Order Act, dictates that anyone who, either verbally or in writing or by any means whatsoever, spread false information or make false statements that may cause alarm to the public, may be prosecuted and sentenced to imprisonment for up to three years or a fine of BND3,000.
Additionally, individuals who commit or attempt to commit or prepare or conspire to carry out sedition – using words that are inflammatory; print, post, sell, offer to sell, distribute or reprint any incitement; as well as bring in any gazette that is in the form of sedition; may be sentenced to imprisonment for up to two years and a fine of BND5,000 as stated in the Act and Section 4(1), Chapter 24 of the Sedition Act.
The programme continued with a dialogue on issues raised by the villagers relating to floods, landslides, blocked drains and crops.
Officials from the Public Works Department and Department of Agriculture and Agrifood also participated.
Acting Head of Kampong Batu Apoi Norasmadi bin Karim also attended the programme.
The programme aims to improve relations between the government and the people, and shares updates on the progress of mukims.