Najib is in danger of become a standing international joke as a schizophrenic Prime Minister who struts the international stage calling for a global movement of moderates but allows moderation to be trampled by extremists at home

Bernama today reported the Deputy Health Minister, Datuk Dr. Hilmi Yahaya saying that one in 100 Malaysians suffer from schizophrenia, adding:

“More Malaysians are suffering from schizophrenia but they and the people around them do not view the problem seriously and refuse to get appropriate treatment.

“The problem should not be treated lightly because if it is not treated, they can injure others, this is very dangerous.”

The country No. 1 victim of schizophrenia is the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is in danger of becoming a standing international joke as a schizophrenic Prime Minister who struts the international stage calling for a global movement of moderates but allows moderation to be trampled by extremists at home.

Recently, Najib gave the latest illustration of such schizophrenic manifestation of disparate and antagonistic definition of moderation at the international as distinct from the national plane.

On Sept. 27, Najib made the most commendable speech at the United Nations General Assembly setting out the moderation agenda for the world, declaring: “The fight against extremism is not about Christians versus Muslims, or Muslims versus Jews, but moderates versus extremists of all religions. We therefore need to rally a coalition of moderates; those willing to reclaim their religion, and pursue the path to peace.”

But at home, Najib shied away from cracking down on extremism and religious intolerance to the extent that hate speech over race and religion in Najib’s five-year premiership had never been so voluminous and venomous as to become the greatest threat to national unity and well-being in the nation’s 57-year history.

This is testified by:

(i) the Attorney-General’s decision not to prosecute Perkasa President Ibrahim Ali for his threat to burn the Malay-language Bible although Najib had no compunction or hesitation in launching a “white terror” blitzkrieg since the beginning of this year to investigate or prosecute some 40 Pakatan Rakyat leaders, social activists, academicians and members of the press under the Sedition Act and other laws for the most legitimate and inoffensive expression of views; and

(ii) Najib’s brain-child the Global Movement of Moderates being regarded as a seditious and subversion organisation for promoting moderation.

I have no doubt that in international forums, where Najib had expounded his global cause of moderation, whether the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, the East-West Centre in Hawaii or at Asia-Europe (ASEM) conferences, had Najib been asked whether those who threatened to burn the sacred books of different religions are extremists, his answer would be a categorical and unqualified positive.

But back home in Malaysia, his government finds excuses for Ibrahim Ali’s threat to burn the Malay-language Bible on the completely unacceptable and outrageous grounds that Ibrahim Ali was protecting the sanctity of Islam and that his action is protected by Article 11(4) of the Malaysian Constitution.

Clearly, Najib suffers from a serious schizophrenic understanding of moderation , where his definition of moderation in international forums is completely different from his definition of moderation at home.

This is why Najib’s call at the Gerakan national assembly yesterday to “reject racial and religious extremism” lacks credibility when it implied acceptance or acquiescence with the decision to let Ibrahim Ali to get away scot-free enjoying immunity from having to suffer any sanctions of the law for his height of extremism in threatening to burn the Malay-language Bible.

But it is not only Najib who suffers from schizophrenia over definition and understanding of moderation.

When Gerakan President Datuk Mah Siew Keong proposed that the Barisan Nasional (BN) sack those in the coalition who are found guilty of spewing racial hatred, it attracted an immediate retort from the UMNO vice president and Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi that it would only be fair that the same treatment is given to all BN leaders regardless of race.

The underlying message is Zahid’s disagreement, who said: “Don’t just focus on Malay leaders who are talking about Malay rights. What about the non-Malays fighting for non-Malay rights?

“They say something racist, sack them. Sack everybody.”

Malaysians must oppose and censure all forms of extremism, whether Malay or non-Malay, Muslim or non-Muslim.

What is clear, however, is that there is no consensus of what constitutes “moderation” and “extremism” in Barisan Nasional – only the schizophrenic understanding by the UMNO president and the UMNO leadership.

Is this the reason why the MCA, Gerakan, MIC and the Sabah and Sarawak Ministers also shy away from demanding that Ibrahim Ali should be prosecuted for his threat to burn the Malay-language Bible if the BN government is to be true and consistent about flying the banner of moderation against extremism?

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah