BANGI, Aug 18 ― Malaysia and its government may not be perfect given the current problems plaguing the nation but unlike what critics of the establishment have claimed, this does not mean the country is a “failed state” or a “rogue nation”, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today.
The Barisan Nasional chairman also said that Malaysians, particularly the youth, must be “balanced” in their criticism of the government.
“We are not perfect. Before the youths here today, I dare say that we are not a perfect government.
“But I must stress, Malaysia is not a failed state,” Najib said in his speech at the Wasatiyyah 2015 International Seminar “Islam and the New Generation: Aspirations and Challenges” at the National Institute of Valuation (INSPEN) here.
Among others, the prime minister cited Malaysia’s performance in the Global Islamic Economy Indicator 2014-15 ranking as evidence that his administration is steering the country in the right direction.
Malaysia scored the highest margin in the ranking compared to 70 other Islamic nations, not only in its economic performance, but also on its provision of a quality economic ecosystem.
“So does Malaysia deserve to be called a ‘failed state’ or ‘rogue nation’ when every day, the government aims to uphold the objectives of the maqasid al-syariah (higher objectives of the syariah)?
“Are we a failed state when Malaysia sits on the top spot in the Global Competitiveness Report or the World Bank Report of Doing Business?” Najib asked.
A columnist with US-based magazine The Diplomat recently wrote that Malaysia was fast becoming a “rogue” nation and a “failed state” due to alleged corruption in the administration, despite its leaders' repeated pledge to address the problem.
The column, titled “Going Rogue: Malaysia and the 1MDB scandal”, claimed that the controversy over 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) showed how many of the country's key institutions have lost credibility as they are deemed to have been “co-opted” to help keep Barisan Nasional in power.
But Najib claimed critics of his administration had “vested interests”, and expressed regret that many of the country's youths trusted such propaganda more than their own government.
He also called those who spread such propaganda as the “enemies of Islam”.
“I am regretful as many of the youths appeared to be more keen on believing the propaganda and ugly label that may be spread by the enemies of Islam.
“Be careful of such labels or stigma. Today we are described by the media with vested interests as a 'failed state' or a 'rogue nation'. It is as if they want to tarnish Malaysia's name as they please,” he said.
The prime minister, however, said he is open to criticism but it must be done “ethically”. He also urged the youth to embrace the concept of fiqh al-ikhtilaf or the discourse that accepts differing views so that they would not limit their knowledge to that taught by a selected few.
“We should adopt a more balanced view when criticising the government and its leaders. What is not good should be criticised. But if there are good aspects, do not deny it as something that is positive and beneficial to the people”.