Weekly Highlights

The emergency order is in effect

Will nephrologist and front-liner Dr. Rafidah Abdullah and the three Pakatan Harapan leaders Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Guan Eng and Mohamad Sabu be liable to be prosecuted under the fake news Emergency Ordinance allegedly to combat fake news relating to Covid-19 or the Emergency Proclamation?

Dr. Rafidah gained national prominence when she embraced vaccine equity advocated by World Health Organisation (WHO) and twittered the government about the problem of “Dua Darjat 2.0” and called on the health authorities to  “MENJAGA kebajikan petugas2 kesihatan-hospital, swasta & komuniti; bukan yang berDARJAT”.

Although more than 330 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine had been administered in more than 121 countries, WHO’s call  for an acceleration of vaccine equity for all health workers is still valid, as health and care workers have been at the forefront of the pandemic response often under-protected and over-exposed.

WHO said: “Women make up the vast majority of health and care workers and it is thanks to their professionalism, bravery and dedication, often in the toughest of circumstances, that the global mortality rate from the virus is not higher. It is thanks also to their compassion and humanity that those we have lost have been treated with dignity in their final moments.”

WHO said: “Multiple variants are showing increased transmissibility and even resistance to the health tools needed to tackle this virus. The best way to end this pandemic, stop future variants and save lives is to limit the spread of the virus by vaccinating quickly and equitably, starting with health workers.”

In declaring 2021 as the Year of the Health and Care Workers, WHO stressed that “distributing Covid-19 vaccines quickly and equitably is essential to end the Covid-19 pandemic, restart our economies and begin to tackle the other great challenges of our time, like food insecurity, inequality and the climate crisis”.

The Minister for Science, Technology and Innovalion, Khairy Jamaluddin who is the co-ordinating Minister for the National  Covid-19 Immunisation Programme has said that the government take expose of queue-jumping  for Covid-19 vaccinations on the social media seriously, and that  his team would investigate the complaints by the whistleblowers.

But will Dr. Rafidah now be liable to prosecution under the fake news Emergency Ordinance which comes into effect  today, making her liable to a fine up to RM100,000, a jail term of up to three years or both?

Similarly, will the three Pakatan Harapan leaders, Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Guan Eng and Mohd Sabu, be liable to be arrested and prosecuted under the fake news Emergency Ordinance for their joint statement dated January 12 rejecting Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s explanation of needing to counter the third wave of Covid-19 pandemic in the country as a valid reason to declare an Emergency to suspend Parliament and elections?

We must learn from the mistakes of the 22-month Pakatan Harapan government.

In Malacca yesterday, I said Malaysia is inundated by too much negativities – and the fake news emergency ordinance is the latest example.

There is too much hate, lies, falsehood and baseless fear, creating distrust and animosity among diverse races, religions and cultures  in Malaysia – but we must not exploit these negativities to justify the  suppression of our fundamental rights.

We need more positivities and must move away from the politics of hate, lies, falsehoods and fear which are not only against the teachings of the great religions and civilisations which have made Malaysia their home, but are the very reasons why we have not lived up to the vision of Bapa Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman, to be “a beacon of light in a disturbed and distracted world”.

We must  nurture the bond of oneness among Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region or even party politics; stop the toxic rise of intolerance, bigotry and extremism in our plural society through lies, fake news , false information, hate and fear and build Malaysia into one of the top nations in the world in justice, excellence, integrity,  interfaith dialogue, understanding and tolerance!

For over a decade, Malaysia has allowed these negativities like  fake news and false information a free run.

The downfall of the 22-month Pakatan Harapan Government, for instance, started with the fake news  and false information that the PH government was anti-Malay, anti-Islam and anti-Rulers allegedly because the DAP was the real power behind the coalition, as represented  by its attempt to ratify the International Covenant on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

A  Muslim leader alleged the fake news and false information  that  the ratification of ICERD would condemn Muslims to a life of injustice and oppression,  that it was compulsory for Muslims to oppose ICERD and that it was a Freemason agenda to destroy “religion, race and country”.

But 48 of 50 countries where Muslims make up a majority of the population, representing 99% of the Muslims in the world, including countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, Qatar, Oman, UAB, Algeria, Pakistan, Turkey, Tunisia, Morroca, Indonesia and Bangladesh, have ratified ICERD.

Have the 99% of the Muslims in the world, including those in  the 55 of the 57 countries of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC),  lived in injustice and oppression as a result of ICERD?

Will such a Muslim leader  now be prosecuted for spreading such fake news and false information?

But most important of all, the DAP had nothing to do with the attempt by the Pakatan Harapan Government at the end of 2018 to ratify ICERD, as it was solely the work of the then Foreign Minister who is now the Minister of Communications and  Multimedia and who, up to now, has not dared to admit that the proposal to ratify ICERD was solely his own initiative and had nothing to do with the DAP – although DAP was blamed for it.

Despite all the vicissitudes in the past decade, Malaysians of all races must not give up hope for a better and united Malaysia and our Dream for the country to be a world-class great nation.

But we must declare war on the negativities in the country, and unite to promoter positive values and change.

It is not possible to build positivities in the country by promoting negativities in our respective organisations.  We must promote  positivities in the country by fostering positive values in our respective organisations.

Let us hope that the message in Malacca yesterday – that we must replace the negativities with positivities in Malaysia – will reach far and wide throughout the nation, for all Malaysians regardless of race, religion, region or party politics, to build a world-class great Malaysia and avoid the abyss of a kleptocracy, kakistocracy and a failed state.

 Lim Kit Siang

MP for Iskandar Puteri

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