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Thursday, 25 June 2015

Malaysia’s biggest embarrassment


Malaysia’s biggest embarrassment


Who's tarnishing the nation's image? Look no further than Najib and his regime.
COMMENT

Najib embarassment

The Prime Minister, in his infinite wisdom, recently advised the people against tarnishing the nation’s image abroad. He said a good perception of the nation would ultimately be to our benefit.

A most astute observation, Sir. After all, a good reputation means more tourism dollars and more international awards for the Prime Minister when he goes on his regular trips abroad to visit heads of state. Malaysia’s international reputation of late has been quite questionable, and we have a lot of ground to cover if we are ever going to live up to the “harmonious, multiracial, moderate Muslim” society that Najib sells at various forums around the world.

After all, the aurat controversy around Farah Ann Abdul Hadi was given incredibly wide coverage by the international media, from CNN to Buzzfeed, and many around the world still have their jaws firmly planted on the floor over the accusations levelled at the star gymnast. The Texas/Church’s Chicken fiasco also made it to the international press, with Vice.com jumping at our astounding lack of education with the joy of a dog who’s just found a fresh bone.

We could go on about the “moderate-Muslim” marketing versus the rise of conservatism and fundamentalism in Malaysia, and how it embarrasses the nation on the international stage. There are plenty of great discussions on that contradiction, but what really stuck in the craw of many Malaysians was the audacity in Najib’s advice.

Najib is our nation’s greatest embarrassment to date. An ineffectual leader who messes up on an alarmingly regular basis and who is nowhere to be found in times of crisis, Najib is too preoccupied with staying in power to find the time and space to cater to the needs of the people he swore to serve. If Malaysia were a democracy worthy of the name, he would have long ago resigned or been made to resign for his inability to carry out his duties in a satisfactory manner. And yet he can brazenly tell us to behave so as not to tarnish the nation’s international image.

There is a growing chunk of the populace that views Najib, his administration, and his initiatives as nothing short of a national embarrassment, and with that in mind, Najib’s advice is ill-timed, to say the least. His motive was, as usual, suspect. In fact it was a veiled attack on Mahathir Mohamad for the former PM’s recent interview with the New York Times.


Indeed, neither Najib nor anyone else associated with his regime has any credibility to call on the Malaysian public to be careful not to embarrass the nation. We have spent years cringing in embarrassment at being seen as a nation that is too unconcerned with protecting our democratic rights to find the courage to oust a regime that regularly tramples on those rights.








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