Malaysiakini Letter

Freedom of speech is not exclusive to Najib and BN

Kasthuri Patto  |  Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | It just took Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak 10 days to contradict himself on Malaysia's commitment to human rights by setting up a National Human Rights Action Plan.

In a speech at an event yesterday with People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) members in Serdang that rampant acts of abusing freedom of speech in the name of democracy is not a ticket to badmouth the country.

Najib appears more dazed and muddled these days, desperate to win the hearts of voters, even to the extent of mixing up patriotism and love for one's country, and the right to dissent.

The right to dissent is a fundamental right for people to voice out concerns about the direction about the nation, to condemn gross corruption by government officials, abuses of power in public institutions, questioning hidden hands meddling in the judiciary, slamming those who stoke the fire of racism and religious bigotry.

None of the above are in any way mocking our tanah air, but instead, speaking out against tyranny and injustice.

As prime minister it is his moral duty to the people to answer serious allegations on the misuse of public funds – particularly on the mother of all scandals, 1MDB – before the elections, rather than blurring the lines between patriotism for nation and questioning wrongdoings of the government.

Are Malaysians free to question the prime minister on his alleged involvement in the 1MDB debacle through the voices of their elected representatives in Parliament?

Are the attorney-general, the MACC and PDRM free to investigate the gargantuan scandal embroiling some of the prime minister's closest people?

When Malaysians condemn and criticise the wrongdoings evident in the 1MDB scandal, does it amount to badmouthing the country?

Let Najib be reminded that freedom of expression is not a privilege that he and his men only can enjoy and abuse.

I ask the prime minister to cease making threats to Malaysians on what freedom of speech and democracy means in Malaysia. There are no two versions of the truth nor democracy.

There is only the truth and only democracy, not BN's truth and BN's democracy.

Being prime minister doesn't give you the upper hand nor protection from being criticised, chided or condemned – after all prime minister, you, like all Malaysians, are not above the law.

I call upon Najib, after his gallant speech to honour his pledge to uphold, promote and protect human rights and freedom of speech for all, not to use his position or power to punish those who stand up and voice out against corruption, abuses of power and covering up the 1MDB scandal on his power trip to safeguard BN to rule Malaysia for another 1,000 years.

KASTHURI PATTO is MP for Batu Kawan and publicity secretary for Wanita DAP.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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