Malaysia has repealed a controversial anti-fake news law passed shortly before the May 2018 election. [File: Stringer/Reuters]

Malaysia has scrapped a law making “fake news” a crime, a year after an initial attempt to repeal the legislation was blocked by the opposition-controlled senate.

The Anti-Fake News Act 2018 was passed by the government of former Prime Minister Najib Razak in a move critics said was designed to stifle dissent, just weeks before he lost the May 2018 election.

Under the law those found guilty of spreading what authorities deemed “fake news” could be sent to jail for six years and fined as much as 500,000 ringgit ($120,000).

The repeal was passed in the lower house of parliament on Wednesday with a simple majority. The

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