As a politician in a democratic state, having some people say bad things about me is inevitable. If I can’t handle this, then I made the wrong career choice.
That much I accept. I am happy to have a discourse on politics with any reasonable man or woman and appreciate Malaysian’s lively political discourse.
However, I do think there is a point where democratic discussion ends and is replaced by nothing more than abuse, lies and misrepresentation and those who are serious about our great country’s future should try not to cross it.
Conspiracy theories belong in Jason Bourne movies, not in rational political discourse. Yet it seems some in our country cannot resist their allure because they absolve their promoters of responsibility for their own failures. Cannot win the argument or get your way? Then it is so much easier to complain that the system is fixed than it is to do the hard work of finding a better argument or humbly admitting one’s error.
And it worries me that far too many who say they want to lead Malaysia are unable to restrain themselves when they are engaged in discussions about politics. For them no story, no claim or outrageous theory, no matter how baseless or fact-free, is off-limits, even if it does massive damage to the country’s reputation abroad and our domestic stability.
I cannot stress enough the vital importance of that stability for all of us, whatever our background and heritage. It is one of our great selling points internationally. But as diversity is our great strength, it could just as easily turn into a fatal weakness if political leaders opt for provocation over responsibility and together we did not show self-restrain and understanding of the delicate balances in our country.
My 1Malaysia vision is about leveraging the strength diversity gives us so that we can all, the whole nation, grow stronger together. It builds on the reality of today’s Malaysia – our different heritages and traditions, religious and educational outlooks and experiences – it does not try to pretend these differences do not exists. Yet 1Malaysia also says that these differences are no barrier to achieving our common national goal of increased prosperity and it is also about saying that as we grow stronger as a country our growing resources and opportunities should be distributed to deal with today’s problems and not those faced by my father’s generation.
Of course, there have been several issues that were brought up by the opponents of 1Malaysia. I will address these issues at length in my next blog.