Great challenge of Malaysian youths is to ensure that the goodwill, peace, tolerance and harmony of real-life Malaysia do not deteriorate to resemble the animosity, intolerance and extremism of social-media Malaysia
In my recent special message to the youths of Sarawak, especially those in the 16 – 25 age group, I picked as the first of three challenges their ability to save Malaysia to become a top world-class nation of unity, justice, freedom, excellence and integrity instead of becoming a divided, failed, rogue and kleptocratic state.
I said many would ask whether Malaysia had not been saved from such a trajectory in the historic and miraculous 14th General Election on May 9, 2018 and why was it necessary to save Malaysia from such a disastrous fate once again?
The answer to this question has not sufficiently understood, realised or appreciated by Malaysians.
The answer is Yes, Malaysia had been saved from the trajectory towards a divided, failed, rogue and kleptocratic state on May 9, 2018, but the mission of a New Malaysia where the country becomes a top world-class nation of unity, freedom, justice, excellence and integrity cannot be accomplished within one general election cycle but is a long-term struggle lasting a decade or more, especially after the devastation and depredations of the last government which won for Malaysia the infamous and ignominious appellation of a global kleptocracy.
There are people who wants to wipe out the historic and miraculous decision of May 9, 2018 and restore the country into the hands of those who preach an alliance of klepto-theocracy, through the untrammeled spread of fake news and hate speech to incite inter-racial and inter-religious polarisation and conflict, and who do not mind a big racial and religious conflagration in Malaysia which prompted some to openly talk about “rindu May 13”!
If Malaysians miss the present opportunity to reform Malaysia from a kleptocratic state to become a top world-class nation of unity, justice, freedom, excellence and integrity, there would not be a second chance again.
Malaysia is now in a ludicrous scenario where every ethnic community, whether Malay, Chinese or Indian, is consumed with fear, distrust and hatred believing that it is facing an existential threat to its rights, position and future in Malaysia.
This is the result of the untrammelled spread of fake news and hate speech especially on the social media to incite inter-racial and inter-religious conflagration.
Everyday provides more evidence of such time-bombs to Malaysian nation-building which, if not de-activated, can only spell disaster for peace, tolerance and harmony in Malaysia.
Yesterday, an Umno leader linked the recent shooting in Bayan Lepas, Penang to religious insults despite a warning by police against wild allegations about the case.
Puteri Umno vice-chief Nurul Amal Mohd Fauzi, in a ceramah last night, repeated allegations on social media that the man whom police shot had gone amok after two people allegedly insulted the Prophet Muhammad.
"Yesterday a martyr was laid to rest. Sheikh Mohd Khairil was shot because he went amok in front of two kafirs who insulted the Prophet Muhammad," she said in her opening remarks at a PAS ceramah in Kubang Kerian, Kelantan.
These time-bombs to nation-building can only spell disaster to peace, tolerance and harmony in Malaysia if they are allowed to be detonated.
Observant Malaysians will have long realised that there are two Malaysias -the real-life Malaysia and the social-media Malaysia.
The perception created by the social media is a Malaysia which has never been more polarised in racial and religious terms in the nation’s history, increasingly worsened everyday, as if the country is teetering on the verge of violent race and religious conflagration if the highly-orchestrated mountain of fake news and hate speech to incite inter-racial and inter-religious polarisation is not immediately curbed.
But this is completely different from the real-life Malaysia all over the country, where instead inter-racial and inter-religious animosity, distrust, fear and hatred, there is only goodwill, amity, understanding, tolerance and harmony among Malaysians, whether Malays, Chinese or Indians, Kadazans or Dayaks.
There is however a rub. A highly-funded social media campaign is clearly afoot to ensure that the real-life Malaysia of inter-racial and inter-religious goodwill, amity, understanding, tolerance and harmony deteriorates to resemble social media Malaysia where there is inter-racial and inter-religious animosity, distrust, fear and hatred.
An example of this insidious campaign was the recent flooding of the social media with fake news about the desecration of the national flag by Malaysian Chinese to create alarm, distrust, fear and hate among the Malays.
A picture of a Chinese-looking man burning the Malaysian flag which had taken the social media by storm was actually from a 2013 incident in Manila where a former Filipino police officer burned the Malaysian flag to protest against the then–Philippines President Benigno Aquino’s handling of the Sabah issue.
At that time, even the UMNO secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa mischievously exploited the situation by tweeting:
"Umno n BN have laid strong foundation for the nation. We live in peace and harmony for almost seven decades...BUT NOW IT STARTS TO CRUMBLE, piece by piece, bit by bit ...,"
I dare say that there is not a single Malaysian Chinese who will deliberately dishonour the national flag as flying it up upside down or other despicable acts.
This is why I had described as one of the challenges of Malaysian youths the great task to expose and kill the evil plans of those who wanted Malaysia’s goodwill, peace, tolerance and harmony to crumble into animosity, intolerance and extremism, with real-life Malaysia resembling the social-media Malaysia!