The Malaysian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Ahmad Rasidi Hazizi, has penned a letter to The Economist, accusing the British weekly magazine of publishing "falsehoods" spread by the Malaysian opposition about Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.
In the letter, Rasidi said the magazine's articles, titled "Stop thief, Malaysia's PM is about to steal an election" and "Tilting the playing field" published on March 10, contained serious errors and reeked of an "arrogant colonial mindset".
He pointed out that the United States' Department of Justice (DOJ) had never accused Najib of siphoning off funds from 1MDB, nor had the prime minister suggested that the RM2.6 billion funds in his personal accounts were a "gift from an unnamed admirer".
Rasidi said that the article's suggestion that the redrawing of electoral boundaries by the Election Commission is tantamount to "rigging the system", also reveals the magazine's "double standards for Western countries and the rest of the world."
Below is Rasidi's letter, reproduced in full:
Your recent articles on Malaysia contained serious errors and reeked of an arrogant colonial mindset, disparaging our prime minister, government, police, judiciary, election commission, media and even our voters (“Stop, thief!”, “Tilting the playing field”, March 10th).
For example, America’s Department of Justice never accused Najib Abdul Razak, the prime minister, of “siphoning” off funds, nor has Mr Najib ever suggested that the funds were a “gift from an unnamed admirer”. In fact, the prime minister and numerous officials have stated that the funds - the vast majority of which were returned - were a donation from the royal family of Saudi Arabia. This has been confirmed by the Saudi foreign minister, who has publicly stated that the funds were “a genuine donation with nothing expected in return” and that the Saudi authorities consider the matter closed.
Separately, to suggest that the redrawing of electoral boundaries to account for population growth is somehow “rigging the system” reveals your double standards for Western countries and the rest of the world. Your allegation would imply that numerous democracies are guilty of the same charge, not least Britain, where significant constituency changes are expected in advance of the next election. In Malaysia, these changes were proposed and implemented by the independent Election Commission and subsequently approved by the judiciary, whose impartiality is evidenced by the fact that it frequently rules against the government and senior ministers.
Since Najib Razak took office in 2009, Malaysia’s gross national income has increased by more than 50 percent, 2.3 million jobs have been created, unemployment and inflation have been kept low and poverty reduced significantly. Indeed, the Malaysian economy is growing at such a fast rate that the World Bank had to increase its estimates for our growth three times over 2017, to 5.8 percent. The government’s plan for the economic well-being and security of Malaysia and its people is delivering.
This is the true story of Malaysia. Your reporting appears to have been based exclusively on falsehoods pushed by opposition parties and their sympathisers for political gain ahead of the coming election.