MP SPEAKS | Yesterday, I said that one reason why I have kept a low publicity profile in the past year was because of the unprecedented and monstrous lies and falsehoods in the era of social media, like the latest images circulating on WhatsApp portraying me as a puppet-master pulling the strings of puppets signifying PKR, Bersatu and Amanah.
Or, the images portray me as lording over Bersatu chairperson Dr Mahathir Mohmad, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, and Amanah president Mohamad Sabu, with the vituperative but totally fictitious and baseless message: “I don’t want the Malays to ‘Unite’! I don’t want ‘Justice’ for Malays! No need to keep the 'Trust' with Malay!” (“Saya tak mahu Melayu Bersatu! Saya tak mahu Keadilan kepada Melayu! Tak perlu tunai Amanah kepada Melayu!”).
I described this as a “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation, as I am pictured as the greatest threat to Malays and Muslims in a Malay and Muslim constituency, while DAP and I are condemned by other propagandists and cybertroopers amongst non-Malays and non-Muslims as having sold out the rights and interests of non-Malays and non-Muslims.
This prompted an instant Facebook response by the former prime minister, Najib Razak, with the following posting:
“Oh really? Isn’t that the person who spent years slandering me of killing Altantuya Shaariibuu, Teoh Beng Hock, Hussain Najadi, and Kevin Morais?”
This is a singular case of admission by the former prime minister that he sits atop a highly funded super infrastructure purveying monstrous lies and falsehoods in the era of Internet and social media, even after he has been evicted from Putrajaya in the 14th general election.
But firstly, let me state that I had never in my speeches and statements in the past, ever accused Najib of murdering Altantuya Shaariibuu, Teoh Beng Hock, Hussain Najadi, or Kevin Morais, but he must not evade responsibility for these deaths as prime minister of Malaysia.
I should ask Najib whether he is saying that he would not sue anyone for accusing him of killing Altantuya, Teoh Beng Hock, Hussain Najadi or Kevin Morais, whether in the past, present or the future?
Anyone in his right senses would have sought to clear his name and reputation if he had been accused by prominent personalities of dastardly deeds like the heinous crime of murder and kleptocracy, and Malaysians are entitled to know why Najib is an exception.
The vicious and toxic politics of lies and falsehoods to create interracial and interreligious hatred and intolerance is not a new phenomenon in Malaysian politics.
Najib had been one of its foremost exponents before the 14th general election, as borne out by testimony in the current Najib corruption trial that millions of ringgit had been spent on “political intelligence” and to launch “black ops” or “special ops”.
Is BN anti-Malay, anti-Islam too?
Before the 14th general election at the 71st Umno general assembly in December 2017, Najib blatantly and brazenly resorted to gargantuan lies when he accused the DAP of being anti-Malay and anti-Islam, that “DAP is blatantly anti-Malay and anti-Islam, as written in the DAP constitution that does not mention Islam as the religion of the federation at all”.
Present at the 71st Umno general assembly opening were the leaders of the other 12 BN component parties, such as MCA, MIC, Gerakan, and the Sabah and Sarawak component parties – All of whom also did not mention Islam as the religion of the federation in their constitutions.
Did Najib accuse the other 12 BN component parties, and therefore the BN coalition, as anti-Malay and anti-Islam?
At this pre-14th general election Umno general assembly, Najib also resorted to the politics of fear and hatred by drumming baseless fears and hate, as when he warned that if Pakatan Harapan wins, “the Malays will be vagabonds, cursed and despised, until they ‘terbangsat’ (become bastards) in their own homeland”.
This was why I commented on Najib’s Umno presidential speech on Dec 13, 2017, and said:
“Najib should know that if Pakatan Harapan defeats the Umno/BN coalition in the next general election, the Pakatan Harapan federal government will be doing its utmost in the next five years to prove that it is better than the Umno/BN government in protecting and promoting the rights and interests of all Malaysians, especially the Malays and Islam.
“No one will be ‘terbangsat’ in their own land or it will lose the mandate to govern and be repudiated in the subsequent general election five years later in 2023.”
Lies lead to polarisation
Malaysians will not forget the great Umno lie in the last general election that I, and not Mahathir, will become prime minister if Pakatan Harapan wins the 14th general election.
But Najib’s most gargantuan lie is undoubtedly his denial up till today that there is anything amiss with the 1MDB, although the 1MDB scandal is the constant subject of the national and international media like the accumulating news reports on the 1MDB scandal.
These include the expected return to Malaysia of more than RM930 million misappropriated from 1MDB by the US and Singapore authorities, the sale of assets acquired by the stolen 1MDB funds like a mansion in Los Angeles, the return of a pair of diamond earrings and matching diamond ring worth nearly US$1.7 million, or the sale of the billion-ringgit superyacht Equanimity.
We have entered a new phase of toxic and vicious politics of racial and religious hatred, lies and falsehoods which, if unchecked, will lead to unprecedented polarisation, division and disunity in plural Malaysia.
Such toxic and vicious campaign of lies, falsehoods, hate and animosity must be stopped.
LIM KIT SIANG is the Iskandar Puteri MP.