Newly-minted minister Salleh Said Keruak has called on the opposition to learn from their British counterparts and not instigate people to take to the streets.
The communication and multimedia minister also warned that street rallies and violence invite peril.
In a blog posting, Salleh ( photo ) noted how the British government sold 5.4 percent of the shares that it owned in the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) at £3.30 per share, which it bought seven years earlier at £5 per share.
He recalled how the British government was forced to bail out RBS in 2008 at a cost of £45 billion, and give it access to cheap funds to keep it afloat. However, after seven years the bank has still not turned around.
Salleh said the latest move attracted criticism from the opposition, which felt the bank should be nationalised instead of being privatised.
The opposition, he added, also questioned the government’s decision to lose £1 billion in the sell-off.
'Opposition has to be more responsible'
“The reason I am raising this is to bring to your attention that such things do happen, even in so-called more advanced and transparent countries such as Britain. And actually, it was not the first multi-billion pound loss that the British government had to suffer.
“But the British opposition, while it objects to the move, does not ask the people to take to the streets and riot so that the government can be brought down through violent means.
“It disagrees with the government action but it still can look at the whole thing with maturity,” he added.
Salleh said it is time that the Malaysian opposition, too, became more mature and not treat any disagreement with government decisions as a reason to take to the streets and riot.
“This street culture is what brought down governments in many Asian and Middle Eastern countries. However, the changes that happened after that were not always for the better and many times the country became even worse.
“Malaysia needs an opposition, but an opposition that is more responsible.
“History has shown that any government that is changed through violent means is later also brought down through the same violent means. And Malaysia’s racial balance is too delicate to take such risks,” he warned.