The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has again promoted the cause of moderation when he spoke in Penang when opening the 43rd International Convention of the World Chinese Language Press Institute this morning.
Najib urged the media to play the role as a promoter of moderation, “to take back the centre” and reclaim the agenda for peace and pragmatism.
He said the movement of the moderates could marginalise the extremists, and that the media had a significant role to play in this quest.
“With collective determination, we can build a more rational, secure and equitable world. As media messages about the majority who seek peace and moderation spread around the globe, this new world is indeed within our reach.”
Well said, but Najib is not walking the talk.
Najib should ask how he could expect his promotion of moderation “to take back the centre” to have any traction or credibility when the Umno organ Utusan Malaysia is allowed to preach extremism of the worst kind with lies and falsehoods everyday?
Only today for instance, in another front-page attack on Penang Chief Minister and DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng, was attacked for his speech at the second Pakatan Rakyat national convention yesterday with calls for the banning of the DAP on the ground that Guan Eng had questioned the citizenship and loyalty of Utusan Malaysia supporters.
Guan Eng had not questioned the citizenship or loyalty of anyone when he spoke about the “Real Malaysians”.
Najib has promoted the concept of 1Malaysia where every Malaysian should regard himself or herself as Malaysian first and race, religion, geography and socio-economic status second.
Is anyone challenging the citizenship or loyalty of anyone when criticised for not subscribing to this 1Malaysia concept, such as Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who declared he is Malay first and Malaysian second?
Utusan Malaysia has been plumbing the depths to disseminate lies and falsehoods not to promote moderation but extremism.
For instance, Utusan had accused the DAP of wanting to establish a republic in Malaysia and abolish the system of Malay rulers.
This is a downright lie. Down through the decades, DAP had made it abundantly clear whether through its own political declarations or through Pakatan Rakyat common policy programmes that DAP upholds the fundamental features of the Malaysian Constitution including the system of constitutional monarchy.
Yet the Utusan Malaysia has no compunction in resorting to lies and falsehoods in its campaign of extremism.
Unless and until Najib and UMNO leaders are prepared to check the irresponsible exploitation of race and extremist journalism and politicking appearing in the Utusan Malaysia every day, the Prime Minister’s call for moderation whether at the world Chinese media convention in Penang today or at the United Nations General Assembly recently would have no traction or credibility whatsoever – even throwing into doubt his 1Malaysia concept which is his signature nation-building programme.
Will Najib do anything to check the unprecedented degradation of political discourse in Malaysia by halting Utusan Malaysia’s irresponsible, extremist and racist journalism and politicking?