Najib premiership has not gone bonkers – there is logic in the madness as ISA is not the only route to authoritarianism

Many Malaysians are asking whether the Najib administration has gone bonkers with the political dysfunction of his five-year premiership most conspicuous on the occasion of the 57th Merdeka Day celebrations, viz:

  • Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s break with the tradition of pre-recording and broadcast of Merdeka Day message to have “eye-to-eye, heart-to-heart” connection with all Malaysians in a “live” speech with the triple theme and thrust of unity, confidence and prosperity totally ignored by Umno Ministers and leaders who before and after Merdeka Day on August 31 continued to fan the flames of national disunity and racial discord by propagating the reckless and baseless myth that the Malay race and Islam are under attack;
  • Najib’s pledge to repeal the Sedition Act and to make Malaysia “the best democracy in the world” torn into shreds with him presiding over the most number of sedition prosecutions against Opposition leaders and dissent under any Malaysian Prime Minister, while UMNO Ministers, leaders, UMNO cybertroopers and their front organisations allowed unchecked to spout incendiary and seditious utterances with immunity and impunity.
  • The nation’s first prosecution of an academician, University of Malaya Law Professor Azmi Sharom for sedition, on the same day the Prime Minister cynically delivered an eulogy for academic freedom declaring he and his government’s regard for scholars and intelligentsia as the country’s most important pillars.
  • The mass arrest of 157 Penang Voluntary Patrol Unit (PPS) on Merdeka Day taking part in a Merdeka Parade, showing the Inspector-General of Police’s utter contempt not only for Merdeka Day, the Prime Minister’s Merdeka Day message for unity and utter disregard for the spirit of patriotism and community-service volunteerism of selfless Malaysians to reduce crime and help out in disasters.

But the Najib premiership has not gone bonkers - there is logic in the madness as the Internal Security Act (ISA) is not the only route to authoritarianism.

It is most shocking and to most Malaysians, unbelievable, that the proponent of Political Transformation as an integral part of the National Transformation Programme (NTP) is ushering Malaysia to a new authoritarianism – as if trying to fulfil the promise of the “best democracy of the world” through the terrain of the “worst democracy of the world”.

The rule of law and academic freedom are under new-fangled assault. Malaysians must not succumb to a new despotism and must speak out, loud and clear, in defence of our democratic and academic freedoms as well as the rule of law.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah