Will Muhyiddin support strong and effective action against hate speech and hate crimes which, if unchecked, would plunge Malaysia into greater disunity and polarisation resulting in a failed state

Malaysia urgently needs strong and effective action against hate speech and hate crimes which, if unchecked, could plunge Malaysia into greater disunity and polarisation resulting in a failed state.

Malaysia’s diversity must be regarded as an asset and not a liability - not just during the launching of national unity plans or blueprints but at all times so that Malaysia can benefit and leverage on our unique position as the confluence of diverse races, languages, religion, cultures and even civilisations.

During the Chinese New Year season in Malaysia, America went through a second impeachment of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States for the January 6 “insurrection” at the Capitol Hill in Washington to frustrate the certification of the election of Joe Biden by the United States Congress as the 46th US President.

During his four-year term, Washington Post Fact-Checker found that Trump had totalled a tsunami of 30,573 untruths during his presidency — or an average of about 21 erroneous claims a day in his four-term as US President.

It took Trump 27 months to reach 10,000 false claims, an additional 14 months to reach 20,000, while he exceeded the 30,000 mark less than five months later.

As a result, Trump has left behind an America which is not only very divided and polarised, but instead of success in his MAGA (Make American Great Again) policy, reduced America to a third-world country during the Covid-19 pandemic as the top nation in the globe with 28.3 million out of the world total of 110 million Covid-19 cases and nearly half a million out of a global fatalities of over 2.4 million deaths.

We must learn from the American lesson of fake news, false claims and hate speech in the era of social media or the National Unity Policy and the National Unity Blueprint 2021-2030 launched by the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, two days ago would be utterly meaningless.

Down the decades, DAP had been accused of being anti-Malay, anti-Islam and anti-Royalty and I was accused of causing the May 13, 1969 riots although I was never in Kuala Lumpur during the relevant time.

These were downright lies and hate speech calculated to incite hatred among the Malays against me.

I was accused of leading illegal processions in the streets of Kuala Lumpur and even urinating in the compound of the then Selangor Mentri Besar in Kampong Baru, but I was all the time in Kota Kinabalu at the time of the May 13, 1969 riots in Kuala Lumpur.

The first time I set foot in Kuala Lumpur was on May 18, 1969 when I was arrested by the Special Branch under the Internal Security Act (ISA) after I disembarked at the Subang International Airport and brought down to the Jalan Pasar Police Station in Kuala Lumpur.

These lies, fake news, false claims and hate speech took on great potency in the last decade with the advent of the information age and the era of social media , but no one had been arrested or prosecuted for these lies and hate crimes.

The DAP was accused of being the party behind the Pakatan Harapan government proposal to ratify the International Covention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) in the latter half of 2018, when, in actual fact, it was solely the work of the then Foreign Minister, Saifuddin Abdullah, who is now the Minister for Communications and Multimedia.

The insidiousness of lies, fake news and hate speech has reached a new level in Malaysia where the DAP is on the one hand, accused of being anti-Malay and anti-Islam by one group while, at the same time, accused of having sold out the rights and interests of the Chinese and non-Muslim religions by another group, with both groups working in tandem with each other.

One of the lessons from the fall of the former Pakatan Harapan Government after only 22 months is the need for an effective law to deal with lies, hate speech and hate crimes, inciting suspicion, distrust and hatred among races and religions in our plural society.

Will Muhyiddin give full support, for the sake of national unity, for strong and effective action to be taken against such lies, hate speech and hate crimes in Malaysia?

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri