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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 11 — Four members of the Dewan Negara Caucus on People’s Wellbeing today slammed their chairman Datuk Razali Idris for equating criticism of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to mental illness.
Joined by 16 other senators from Pakatan Harapan, the group said Razali should not hide behind the caucus to issue such derogatory comments aimed at eroding the freedom of speech of Malaysian citizens.
“Razali should show his maturity as a Dewan Negara member and not misuse the phrase ‘mental illness’ as he pleases, without any sensitivity towards many who are suffering from depression due to the economic uncertainties during the movement control period,” they said.
The group said that the caucus had been set up in December 2020 to tackle issues such as rising meat prices, overcrowding in jails, Felda, and many more as a bi-partisan platform.
The group said Razali is free to speak his mind as a senator, but cannot claim to be speaking on behalf of the caucus as its chairman.
“It isn’t right for Razali to speak for the Caucus when his opinions are full of controversy and partisan in nature,” they said,
Yesterday, Razali, a member of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, said a new piece of legislation on insults, incitement and slander should be introduced specifically for new social media, claiming that such behaviour is now the “number one mental illness” in the country.
He said the new law would be much stricter and effective in dealing with any Internet users who display extremist or unpatriotic behaviour on social media that are directed towards the royal institution, the office of the prime minister, as well as the country.
Claiming to represent the caucus, he said the caucus strongly condemns the actions of some Malaysians whom he claimed displayed extremist behaviour on social media platforms.
The senator made reference to Muhyiddin’s recent official trip to Indonesia, which saw numerous derogatory remarks made against him on social media.
Muhyiddin is from Bersatu, where Razali is a supreme council member.