Disparaging leaders at street rallies sets bad example for moderation, Najib says

Prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said criticising the country’s leaders at public demonstrations is not the moderate approach to resolving matters. — File pic
Prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said criticising the country’s leaders at public demonstrations is not the moderate approach to resolving matters. — File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 13 — Malaysians must “come back to the centre” and be rational in their actions and decisions if they love their country, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today.

The prime minister said criticising the country’s leaders during public demonstrations is not the moderate approach to resolving matters.

“Holding street demonstrations, disparaging the nation’s leaders does not set a good example of the middle ground,” he said when opening Makkal Sakti’s 7th annual general meeting here.

Najib, however, did not make a reference to any specific rally that has happened in the country over the years.

During the Bersih 4 rally last month, participants of the mass public demonstration were heard demanding for the prime minister’s resignation over his handling of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fiasco.

The overnight demonstration in the city was also attended by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed, who has been one of Najib’s harshest critics of late.

To counter the purported Chinese domination of Bersih 4, several Malay groups now plan to stage another rally, alternately dubbed Himpunan Maruah Melayu and Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu.

The event, expected to take place on Malaysia Day, will see protesters donning red shirts to mark their opposition to Bersih 4’s signature yellow shirts.

Najib said earlier this week that Umno does not endorse the “red shirts” rally but added that the party will not stop members from attending. This message was repeated by Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin.

In another message today, Najib said the job of developing the country can no longer rest solely on the shoulders of the government, stressing that everyone from politicians to civil society have a role to play.

“We need the help of political parties and friendly NGOs to push the development of the country and its people,” he said.

Najib is currently said to be facing the toughest period in his political career. His leadership is plagued by a number of controversies, many of which his critics allege are directly linked to him, including the 1MDB debt issue and the RM2.6 billion donation, among others.

These controversies have caused jitters even in ruling Umno, with some top leaders previously believed to be supportive of Najib emerging in the public arena to question their party president.

Najib, however, has repeatedly defended himself against their criticisms.

In a blog post earlier today, the leader vowed to Umno and Malaysians that he would not disappoint them nor quit the struggle at the first sign of trouble, reiterating his refusal to step down ahead of his term.

Reminiscing his years in Umno and the times of crises the ruling party has had to overcome, the country’s sixth prime minister lamented the use of social media today to spread falsehoods and defamatory remarks, noting that in the past, such a “weapon” had never existed.

He said in politics, any bid to take down a party will start with attacks against its leader as the belief is such that when this leader no longer commands the confidence of his or her subjects, the party will easily fall.

“And in politics, in order to topple a leader, there will be all kinds of conspiracies... within the country and abroad... because all this is to take down Umno as the party that heads the country’s leadership and administration,” he said in the posting today.

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