Malaysia’s future will be fuller of promise if only Najib could practise in the country the principles and values moderation that he preaches at international forums

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday delivered another “fantastic” speech abroad, stating his belief that many of the world’s current problems can be solved if society subscribed to the whole concept of moderation.

He said if the society and governments used moderation in their actions and policies, then the country would have a much more just, fair and inclusive society.

He said moderation was based on certain principles and sound values, like justice, sense of fairness, and choosing dialogue over confrontation, and negotiation over conflict.

One can easily imagine a national sigh at such a report with the overwhelming reaction from Malaysians the quite unanimous one that the country’s future will be fuller of promise if only Najib could practise in the nation the principles and values of moderation that he preaches at international forums.

If the Najib administration had stayed true to the principles and sound values of moderation in governing the country like justice, sense of fairness, and choosing dialogue over confrontation, and negotiation over conflict, Malaysia will not today be at the critical crossroads some five months after the 13th general elections, struggling to achieve a Malaysian Dream with all Malaysians regardless of race, religion or region as equal national stakeholders at a time of unprecedented racial and religious politicking and polarisation, with the well of public discourse continuously poisoned by language of hatred, intolerance and unethical resort to lies and falsehoods.

In the past five months, Najib had repeatedly backtracked from the message of moderation, but there could be no greater betrayal of the mission of moderation than his distortion of the results of the 13th general elections, describing it as a “Chinese tsunami” and allowing irresponsible and dishonest UMNO political propagandists to launch a campaign of Chinese-bashing.

The 13th general elections results were no Chinese grab for Malay political power or rejection of Malay/Chinese/Indian/Kadazan/Iban political co-operation in Malaysia.

In fact, it was a resounding triumph for the cause of moderation in Malaysia, as it was a robust testimony that Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region were prepared to come together in a new political compact based on the moderate principles and values of unity, harmony, justice, freedom, accountability, transparency and integrity rejecting greed, corruption, cronyism and abuses of power but camouflaged in extremist and intolerant politics of race and religion.

The 50th Malaysia Day this year should be the occasion for Najib to demonstrate his commitment to the message and mission of moderation in Malaysia, uniting Malaysians not only of diverse ethnicities and religions but of regions.

Instead, his announcement of the RM31 billion Bumiputera Economic Empowerment Plan two days before 50th Malaysia Day seriously dented his moderate credentials whether for his 1Malaysia policy as well as his claim to be a Prime Minister for all Malaysians.

The BEE Plan was a double betrayal – of his 1Malaysia Policy to create a Malaysia where every Malaysian perceives himself or herself as a Malaysian first and by race, religion, geographic region or socio-economic background second as well as his New Economic Model (NEM) which promised a needs-and-merit based transformation of the affirmative programme to uplift the quality of life of the low-income 40% of the households – the overwhelming majority of whom would be the Malays and bumiputeras in Sarawak and Sabah.

In his current overseas tour during a speech in San Francisco, Najib vowed to make corruption a part of Malaysia’s past and not its future.

But the recent survey by global management consultancy Ernest & Young in its latest report, Asia-Pacific Fraud Survey Report Series 2013, that Malaysia is perceived as the second most corrupt country in the region after Indonesia and that more than one in three company executives feel that corruption is not only rampant but on the rise as well in Malaysia is a powerful testimony that far realising Najib’s San Francisco wishes, corruption in Malaysia is becoming even more entrenched for the future instead of becoming a matter of the past!

The latest repudiation of Najib’s moderate credentials is the backtracking of his pledges made two years ago to abolish detention-without-trial laws with the new Prevention of Crime Act amendments, which are at the same time major assaults on the rule of law and the doctrine of separation of powers to provide judicial check on executive abuses and excesses of power.

What is the use of Najib continuing to make “fantastic” speeches about the principles and values of moderation in international forums when he is stripping himself one after another of all his pledges and commitments of a moderation programme in his own country?

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah