Categorised | Letters to the Editor

Najib needs to do more

I WELCOME the decision by Malaysia’s new Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to release 13 prisoners who were detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA). I also laud his move to lift the ban on two [Pakatan Rakyat party] newspapers.

But Najib’s announcements come at the time of three crucial by-elections that would gauge peoples’ support for the newly minted premier. Therefore, it raises doubts as to whether Najib is strategising to manipulate pertinent issues to shore up his support within the ruling Umno and with the people to entrench his position as the nation’s sixth premier.

It is clear that Najib is under pressure to portray himself as a democratic leader to neutralise allegations of corruption and links to the lurid, sensational murder of the Mongolian model, Altantuya Shaariibuu.

The nation has also witnessed the clampdown on fundamental rights.

Peaceful demonstrations were forcefully stopped by baton-wielding police [officers], candlelight vigils banned, and Jerit cyclists repeatedly harassed before they were allowed to submit their memorandum, calling for basic rights, in Parliament.


Jerit cyclists being stopped by police on their way to Parliament to submit a memorandum on 18 Dec 2008
(Pic courtesy of jerit.org)

The list goes on. Bloggers have been persecuted and a private investigator who gave a sworn statement implicating Najib in the murder of Altantuya is still missing.

But we see a sudden reversal of his policies as Najib takes over the top job in the country. It is clear that these decisions have not been given careful thought and were implemented to sway voters in Bukit Gantang, Bukit Selambau and Batang Ai to cast their votes in favour of BN candidates.

But the rakyat cannot be fooled. As such, I urge Najib to be consistent in his leadership to uphold the principles of democracy, accountability and good governance.

Furthermore, these actions alone by Najib are not enough. The ISA negates democracy by disallowing detainees to be charged in an open court. It is a draconian, archaic law which has long passed its expiry date.

Najib’s unexpected release of the 13 individuals candidly reflects that their arrests were unlawful and unwarranted. Therefore, I strongly urge the newly minted premier to abolish the Act and release all other ISA prisoners with immediate effect.

I call upon the prime minister to reverse the continued punishment inflicted upon the two recently released Hindraf leaders and others. Their right to free movement and free speech has been curbed for a year. Such punitive measures do not augur well in building confidence in the reform and renewal strategy that Najib proposes for the nation. 

Najib has just taken over an unenviable job from former premier Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Frivolous and hasty decisions, implemented to fool the people, will not help the government to regain the confidence of Malaysians including in the yet-to-be-defined “One Malaysia. People First. Performance Now” phenomenon.

Charles Santiago
Member of Parliament for Klang
7 April 2009

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4 Responses to “Najib needs to do more”

  1. Minang King says:

    I do not think Najib is under any pressure to implement reforms. I believe he is merely concentrating on the political game against PR and bidding his time for the day his opponents grow careless. I also think Najib is merely dangling the carrot to see how desperate the rakyat are.

  2. Gopal Raj Kumar says:

    There is a need to be vigilant and to be relevant. The singling out of one individual tainted by his enemies (not uncommon in politics), yet to be charged with any unlawful conduct by a properly established or recognised tribunal of law, yet hounded and villified by sectors of society on the basis of pure unsubstantiated and uncorroborated heresay is not reason to place any heavier a burden on him to justify his office.

    A government is as good as its people. It is the individual and collective values of each and everyone who is a citizen and their contribution to the betterment of that society that matters more than one individual and his [or her] acts of ommission in office.

    In the end, remember this line from a popular Bob Dylan song:

    “Even the president of the United States sometimes has to stand naked.”

  3. Haji Amiruddin Haji Abu says:

    Do not teach Najib what to do. We are hoping that he will steer this country out of the economic and political turmoil.

    Give him a chance.

    Come GE13, we will kick him out or he will kick us out before then. It is none of his business that we do not like him.

    Like it or not Najib is the prime minister of the land.

  4. P.A.Chew says:

    Gopal Raj Kumar,

    What you say is generally true but I beg to differ with you on Najib. The allegations surrounding Najib, though without solid evidence, is enough to raise many questions in the minds of reasonable and right-thinking people. Therefore it does make it pertinent for him to justify that he deserves to be in his high office. After all politics is about perception and the prime minister must be, as far as reasonably possible, not only clean but be seen to be clean.

    I believe that a bad man [or woman] can do good things and a good man [or woman] can do bad things too. But I’d believe more in a good man [or woman] in office promising to do good things than a “questionable” man [or woman] promising to do good things.


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