Disgracing the opposition at a business briefing reflects poorly on government

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Why Najib resorted to such a desperate measure is a haunting question in the minds of thinking Malaysians. It certainly was an ill-advised speech, writes JD Lovrenciear.

The prime minister of Malaysia addressed a global business community today at the InvestMalaysia 2017 event in Kuala Lumpur. Unfortunately whoever wrote that script for him has done the nation as a whole a disfavour.

Prime Minister Najib Razak spoke well of the many plus points and attractions that Malaysia offered while quoting statistics and figures from other bodies as well as the existing increase of investments by companies already operating in Malaysia.

But his slamming of the opposition coalition in Malaysia at such a forum did dishonour to the country.

By branding opposition members as a “Punch and Judy show”, Najib has stirred greater suspicion among the audience about the country.

By branding the opposition as “cynical and deceptive”, he has sowed seeds of doubt in the minds of the global audience about the politics and leadership in Malaysia.

By picking on a “nonagenarian” (obviously referring to Tun Dr Mahathir), the current prime minister has displayed shallowness. One does not run down one’s political opponents at an international business briefing.

By literally going the distance to run down the legitimate opposition that sits in Parliament, the august house and pinnacle of democracy, the prime minister, who is supposed to be the leader of an entire nation, has taken a sectarian party leadership stance instead.

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The business community scouts for political stability as one of their primary measurements. When a leader of a nation uses such a platform as InvestMalaysia 2017 to slam his opponents, it does not augur well for the nation.

What he spoke is best summarised by borrowing his own words, “It is not fair to the Malaysian people, and it’s not fair to the business community, both at home and abroad.”

Why Najib resorted to such a desperate measure is a haunting question in the minds of thinking Malaysians. From a business ethics standpoint, it certainly was an ill-advised speech.

JD Lovrenciear is the executive director of the Business Ethics Institute of Malaysia.

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