By Dato' Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, Ketua Pergerakan Pemuda UMNO Malaysia
SIR – Your mischaracterization of the current Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia (Enter Najib, with baggage, November 6) begins with the first sentence : "One could certainly say that Najib Razak was born to be Malaysian prime minister."
But one shouldn’t. To do so not only denies due credit to an accomplished politician and career public servant but also displays a disheartening lack of insight into Malaysia’s political environment; Malaysians’ demand for leadership toward unity, tolerance, and reform; and the extent to which international publications’ and observers’ perceptions of Malaysia have been manipulated. Your readers deserve better.
Throughout your article, Najib is solely defined by other prominent Malaysian public figures and sensational tidbits of innuendo and gossip. After reading the article, we know more about them than we do about Najib.
This is typical coverage of Najib by the foreign press and I encourage you to consider the importance of getting to know him as Malaysia does.
I have known Najib for over three decades. Over those years, I have never known him to waiver from his pursuit of a stronger Malaysia – a Malaysia more reflective of its diverse communities. To assume that Najib will reach the pinnacle of his profession through birthright or happenstance is to profoundly misread the man and Malaysian political practice.
Malaysia has watched Najib excel at the expected functions of a political leader for over 30 years, appropriately supporting leadership and consensus objectives while tactfully promoting his own vision of a progressive and modern country.
We have seen him work tirelessly within the party structure and at the grassroots, fostering purpose and re-energizing his efforts to realise change on their behalf.
In Malaysia, institutional change comes slowly and observers have been agitating for Malaysian reform for years. It’s frustrating that, even as Najib’s opportunity to deliver that reform begins to materialise, less than insightful commentary by those same observers seeks to undermine his ability to deliver it.
To be fair, Najib has raised less of a defense than is warranted and so the record is limited. Characteristically, his reaction to attack and accusation is not to respond. His confidence that truth will eventually prevail and his disdain for gutter politics, however, often leave him at a disadvantage with a controversy-hungry international audience.
Fueling that hunger and usurping Malaysia’s elected voice on the international stage is Anwar Ibrahim. A man who once held Najib’s current positions and who many thought would be Prime Minister, Anwar will stop at nothing to camouflage the alleged indiscretions that caused his downfall and reclaim his squandered potential.
He continues to work with impunity and without portfolio to negatively influence the international community against Malaysia’s elected majority and to sow divisiveness within our society.
Anwar’s impact is such that even hard fought and public vindications retain a hint of scandal. And to Malaysia’s detriment, that lingering hint is regularly reported as current news with a wink but no proper examination.
In a comparison with Anwar that Najib might find amusing but I do not, I ask readers to examine the Wikipedia entries of the two men. Which man plays to an outside audience? Which labours under a constant assault of ankle biting, lies, and innuendo?
If asked to write this letter for Najib, I would have. In this case, however, I write for myself and for Malaysia. It is one thing to read unsupported rumours on the internet.
Seeing Malaysia’s future PM defined by that same gossip in a publication of your stature presents a much greater problem. It severely hinders Malaysia’s ability to enact needed domestic reform and conduct business in the global community today.
I have every confidence Najib will become our 6th Prime Minister in March 2009. I encourage you to visit Malaysia, sit down with Najib, and return to report, at your usual standards, the truth and not rumour.
Source: Laman Web Pemuda UMNO Malaysia