Malaysia’s government plans to introduce a ten-year jail sentence for anyone who peddles fake news, in a new law that critics fear will be used to crack down on dissent ahead of an imminent general election.

Prime Minister Najib Razak’s regime has been dogged by accusations in a multibillion-dollar corruption scandal involving an indebted state fund.

Mr Najib has denied any wrongdoing, but rights activists warn the law could be used to criminalise news reports on alleged government misconduct.

The anti-fake news bill, which was announced on Monday but which must be approved by parliament, has also raised concerns that it could be used to target government critics during the election campaign.

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