Malaysia in an era of fake news, false cartoons and false allegations

Malaysia is now in an era of fake news, false cartoons and false allegations.

Today, the Penang Chief Minister’s Office had to deny a Whatsapp message on Dec. 14 with a photograph of the Penang Chief Minister that Lim Guan Eng had supported the action against the Rohingya community in Myanmar.

The Chief Minister’s special assistant Zaidi Ahmad, lodged a police report on the fake news and said the whole objective of the fake Whatsapp message was a racialist slander to incite religious sentiments against the Chief Minister.

In actual fact, at the Penang Chief Minister’s initiative, the recent Penang State Assembly unanimously passed a motion condemning the atrocities against the Rohingyas.

I understand that there are also fake news and fake postings on the Internet alleging that I had also supported the oppression of the Rohingyas in Myanmar when on Dec. 6 I had called for an international inquiry into the ethnic cleansing of Rohginyas in Myanmar.

But the perpetrators of fake news, false cartoons and false allegations are no respecters of truth.

Ten days ago, I had denounced a fake Cabinet line-up titled “Barisan Kerajaan Baru 2017 – Pakatan Harapan DAP/PKR/PAN/PPBM” circulated on the social media, with me as Prime Minister-cum-Finance Minister, Tun Mahathir Mohamad as Deputy Prime Minister, PKR President Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Ismail as Woman and Family Development Minister, Amanah President Mohamad Sabu as a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of “Agama Islam & Hubungan Antara Agama” and President of PPBM, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of “Integrasi Nasional & Pengurusan Prestasi”.

Again, the whole objective of the fake Cabinet line-up was to buttress the Nazi-style propaganda offensive of lies and falsehoods launched by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak in his UMNO Presidential speech on Nov.30, seeking to portray the DAP and myself as anti-Malay and anti-Islam and that if UMNO loses the 14th GE, the Malays will lose political power to the Chinese who will dominate politics in Malaysia.

Najib is heedless of fact and truth, viz:

• that DAP had never asked for a Chinese to be Prime Minister;

• DAP is not a Chinese race-based political party but represent Malaysians regardless of race or religion; and

• if UMNO is defeated in the next general elections, the new coalition replacement in Putrajaya will want to prove that it could do better to look after the interests of all Malaysians, especially the Malays, so that UMNO will find it difficult to retake Putrajaya in subsequent general elections.

I have been in politics for 51 years and the fact that Najib and the UMNO leadership with all the resources at their command as the Federal government of Malaysia could not uncover a single instance or example in my more than half a century of political life to substantiate their lies that DAP and I are anti-Malay and anti-Islam is the strongest proof of DAP’s commitment for more than half a century to the Malaysian Dream of a nation for all Malaysians regardless of race or religion?

There is recently in circulation on the social media, another fake cartoon, entitled “War of PRU 14”, picturing financier George Soros as the mastermind funding all the Opposition parties in Malaysia, with me representing DAP as Soros’ chief agent yelling “READY TO ATTACK” while directing Azizah of PKR, Sabu of AMANAH and Tun Mahathir of PPBM to go to “war”.

These are downright lies and falsehoods, seeking to portray Opposition leaders as unpatriotic and disloyal agents and stooges of a foreign Soros conspiracy against Najib, which fall into the category of Nazi-style “Big Lies”, hoping that if these “Big Lies” are repeated often enough, there would be Malaysians who would succumb and believe in such garbage and trash.

But it is such propaganda campaign of garbage and trash which Najib launched in his UMNO Presidential speech at the recent UMNO General Assembly, disseminating lies, falsehoods and hatred, dissembling the truth as in the conspiracy of silence over the 1MDB scandal although there is breaking news almost every day all over the world about the 1MDB kleptocratic money-laundering scandal.

Today, for instance, a second banker in Singapore was jailed in connection with the 1MDB money-laundering investigations in Singapore.

In Thailand, a Swiss IT expert, Xavier Justo, jailed for three years last August for attempting to blackmail his former employer PetroSaudi International, a Abu Dhabi oil firm involved in the 1MDB money-laundering dealings, is expected to be able to celebrate Christmas with his family in Switzerland as he is among the thousands of Thai and foreigners granted a royal pardon by the new Thai king, Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradevarangkun.

Early this week, a US federal judge in Los Angeles, California rejected a move by family members of Penang billionaire Jho Low to claim assets seized by the US government in its probe into the international 1MDB kleptocratic money-laundering scandal.

Jho Low is among the people named in civil lawsuits filed in July by the US Department of Justice (DOJ), which alleged that more than US$3.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB.

The US DOJ lawsuits seek to seize US$1 billion in assets allegedly siphoned off from 1MDB and diverted into luxury real estate in New York, Beverly Hills and London, valuable paintings, and a private jet.

But in Malaysia, there is grand deception and charade, pretending that the 1MDB kleptocratic scandal, which had caused Malaysia to be regarded as a global kleptocracy, does not exist.

It is to the eternal shame of the Malaysian Parliament and the UMNO General Assembly that they took full part in this grand deception and charade, and completely failed in their national responsibility to come to grips with the greatest Malaysian kleptocratic scandal in the nation’s history.

This would not have happened under the first four Prime Ministers – Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak (Najib’s father), Tun Hussein and Tun Mahathir who led the Federal Government in the first 46 years of the nation’s history.

In the eighties, the father of Independence and Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman worked with DAP for a more democratic, clean and responsible government.

Tun Razak would have no truck with any kleptocracy, and all Malaysians should now know of the “swimming pool” story told by Nazir, the younger brother of the Prime Minister, to illustrate how his father, Tun Razak, was selfless in his dedication to nation-building and feared the corruption of absolute power.

Nazir illustrated Razak’s frugality and integrity with the “swimming pool” episode, recounting the failed attempt of the Razak children to ask their father for a swimming pool to be built at Seri Taman, the Prime Minister’s residence, and the “lecture” they received from Razak about the important distinction between public office and private use.

Razak told his children that anything spent on the proposed swimming pool in the Prime Minister’s residence would have to come from public funds, and there was no way he was going to allow the state coffers to be depleted on something as frivolous as a swimming pool.

Tun Razak was concerned about “what the people would think” if he used public funds to build a swimming pool in his official residence for the use of his children, but his son, Najib, as the sixth Prime Minister, was not perturbed as to what the world would think with Malaysia dubbed as a global kleptocracy!

What a difference between the father and the son.

Tun Hussein’s commitment to fight corruption is legendary, which can be testified by his son, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein – but again, what a difference between the father and the son.

Tun Mahathir’s opposition to the 1MDB scandal needs no introduction.

Clearly, the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia is doing something which the first four Prime Minister would never dreamt of doing – in allowing Malaysia to be regarded world-wide as a global kleptocracy.

There is another thing which the first four Prime Ministers would never do – distributing what is clearly a government publication as an anonymous publication at the UMNO General Assembly.

I had asked whether Najib, UMNO and the Federal Government was responsible for the expensive, glossy and multi-coloured 20-page publication, entitled “1MDB PASCA LAPORAN AUDIT NEGARA DAN PAC – SAMAN DOJ (JABATAN KEHAKIMAN AMERIKA SYARIKAT) MERAGUKAN” which was distributed as an anonymous booklet at the UMNO General Assembly.

The booklet raised doubts as to whether “MO1” was the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak although a senior Cabinet Minister had identified “MO1” as Najib in a BBC interview.

The booklet even alleged that the biggest US DOJ kleptocratic lawsuits to forfeit US$1 billion 1MDB-linked assets in the United States, United Kingdom and Switzerland was the result of complaints lodged by former UMNO leader Datuk Khairuddin Abdul Hassan.

The anonymous 1MDB booklet asked:

“Kenapa MOI dirujuk tanpa menyebut nama sebenarnya?

“Justeru kenyataan secara terbuka oleh DOJ ini amat meragukan, pelik dan aneh. Ia sengaja dibuat untuk menimbulkan persepsi negatif dan tafsiran yang tidak adil bukan sahaja terhadap Datuk Seri Najib tetapi juga terhadap kestabilan Malaysia.

“Apatah lagi ia berasaskan kepada aduan yang dibuat oleh Datuk Khairuddin Abu Hassan, iaitu seorang penyokong kuat Tun Dr. Mahathir dan memiliki imej negatif.”

Are these the official stands of the UMNO/BN Government of Malaysia? If so, why was the booklet distributed without the legal requirements to show who is the printer and publisher, which in other circumstances, would have justified immediate police action and criminal prosecution for breaches of the Printing Presses and Publications Act?

As Datuk Ambiga Sreenivasan said just now, Malaysians are very disappointed about the politics of Malaysia – after the disappointments over the high hopes for Federal government change in Putrajaya in the 2013 general elections.

But we cannot lose hope, as for good or bad, this is our country and only Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region, can save this country from hurtling down the trajectory towards a failed and a rogue state.

As Amanah President, Mat Sabu, said just now, hope for a better tomorrow in Malaysia depends on the all-out support of the people for political change in Putrajaya in the 14th general elections, which is likely to be held next year.

To save Malaysia, the battlelines in the 14th General Election must be a stark choice between democracy or kleptocracy in Malaysia.

Malaysians should have no truck with political parties or political leaders who are prepared to stomach or tolerate “global kleptocracy” in Malaysia.

Many are asking “what’s next” after the dismissal by the Federal Court on Wednesday of Anwar Ibrahim’s review of his criminal conviction and sentence.

Pakatan Harapan’s decision of Anwar Ibrahim as the Prime Minister-designate when the Opposition coalition wins the general elections remains unchanged.

We will need an interim Prime Minister until Anwar is released from jail to become the Prime Minister of Malaysia – and Anwar will not be the first person to take such a journey from jail to the highest political office in the land in mankind’s struggle for greater freedom and justice for the human race.

As Mat Sabu mentioned just now, Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail will be a good candidate for an interim Prime Minister.

I will add that with the agreement reached by Pakatan Harapan and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia on Tuesday for an electoral pact to defeat UMNO/BN in the next general elections, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin will be a good candidate for the post of interim Deputy Prime Minister.

(Speech at Bukit Glugor DAP “Towards Putrajaya” Dinner at Han Chiang School Hall in Penang on Friday, 16th December 2016 at 10 pm)

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