Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin has provided proof that he runs the Information Ministry like a frog under the coconut shell blissfully unaware that in the era of globalization and international competitiveness Malaysia cannot turn a blind eye to complaints, whether by Malaysians or foreigners, about misgovernance.
I am astounded that the former veteran journalist could be so mischievous and irresponsible as to issue a formal statement yesterday accusing me of acts akin to being “anti-national” for bringing a foreigner to Parliament “to express his views on the democratic and security system in the country”.
He said such things would not have happened in any other country, especially when the case mentioned was still under police investigation .
Zainuddin cannot be more wrong. I have no doubt that in developed countries which Malaysia aspires to become in 2020, using the Parliament to ventilate the grievances of nationals and foreigners in the country would be common occurrence and would not be the subject of any official comment.
What would be eye-raising is having the Information Minister of the country disgracing himself, Parliament and the nation by making myopic and xenophobic statements as if foreigners have no rights in the country and Malaysia has no duty and responsibility to protect the safety and security of foreign tourists, visitors and professionals working as consultants in the country.
Let me clarify from the outset that the Canadian consultant, Manjit Sokhai did not come to Parliament on Wednesday “to express his views on the democratic and security system in the country” but to complain to the Parliamentary Caucus on Human Rights and Good Governance about the menace of Mat Rempitism, of which he was the most recent victim.
Manjit , 43, from Montreal visits Malaysia three to four times a year in connection with his work. He was driving his four-wheel drive along Jalan Rasah, Seremban at about 11pm on Saturday Oct 20, with three friends from India when he was confronted by some 40 Mat Rempits on motorcycles, who assaulted him and went on to damage his vehicle, smashing the rear lights, wipers and number plate.
The purpose of Wednesday media conference in Parliament was for Manjit to recount to the media his traumatic experience with the Mat Rempits, a menace to the safety and security not only of Malaysians but also foreign visitors and tourists.
I cited the recent crimes of Mat Rempitism, including murder, where even police and road transport officials had become victims, and called on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to give his personal attention to wipe out the Mat Rempit menace subverting law and order, creating fear among Malaysians and visitors about their personal safety, giving the country a bad name internationally and undermining Malaysia’s international competitiveness.
It is most shocking that instead of giving support, Zainuddin has chosen to take the side of the Mat Rempits.
Is Zainuddin as Information Minister a frog under the coconut shell blissfully unaware that we are in the era of globalization and international competitiveness or is he making a bid to be a Godfather of Mat Rempits in the run-up to the Umno annual general assembly next month?
In his statement yesterday, Zainuddin was again guilty of “misinformation” when he made baseless allegations against DAP MPs. He said:
“Previously, they had brought two Chinese nationals who claimed that they were victims of the police in one case, but it was later proven that they had cheated the people of this country. They were not linked to the case as claimed and they had used the opposition to exaggerate the case.”
I challenge Zainuddin to substantiate this allegation, and if he cannot do so, to retract his statement and tender a public apology.