Fight With Facts Not Name Calling



It is easy to get everyone excited by calling someone you disagree with “stupid” , but it takes a lot more effort to argue with facts.
Shafiq Abdullah
Malaysians have been graced by an interview with Tun Daim Zainuddin lately, with the South China Morning Post, where Tun Daim discussed the current political landscape of the country. But what caught everyone’s attention the most was him calling those among the Malays who view the Pakatan Harapan government in an unfavourable light, or paranoid towards it, as “idiots”, and added that there are too many of them around.
On a separate note, Malaysians began their solemn Ramadan with the news of Tun Dr Mahathir calling the Tunku Mahkota Johor as “stupid”, and patronising him as a “little boy” , following a remark by the Crown Prince of Johor on how the media has always focused on the negative issues involving the palace.
These are stark times we’re living in, that these statements should come from two of the country’s most distinguished leaders.
It has been one year since the ascension of Pakatan Harapan into the halls of power. One would expect that a coalition that defied expectations, and came in with so much promises, would fare well within a year.
But the reality is that the Pakatan Harapan government is too focused on bickering: if not amongst themselves, against others, and lost its focus.
Essentially they are missing the forest for the trees.
One year on, the economic condition of the rakyat barely budges. Farmers and fishermen are still discontented, and for the most parts the economic policies by the government seem to only benefit those living in the cities. Access to better jobs are still nonexistent, and nothing is being done to mitigate the stagnation, and even regression, of wages.
On top of that, there is a worsened polarisation among Malaysians, with one side deeming the other either too liberal or too conservative. It does not help the situation that our leaders, or public figures who are able to influence them, are not making any headway in solving the situation. In fact, recent statements from Tun Daim and Tun Dr Mahathir only serves to further deepen the polarisation we see in our society. Some on one side will be all too happy to call the people on other side as “idiots”, while those on the other side would be even more unwilling to engage in constructive talks with the side that belittled their concerns.
It is easy to get everyone excited by calling someone you disagree with “stupid” , but it takes a lot more effort to argue with facts.
The unfortunate truth is that Tun Dr Mahathir and Tun Daim Zainuddin has consistently insinuated for decades that the many among the Malays are stupid, or lazy, when they do not see eye to eye with the narrative they are peddling. It seems to be a go-to position for them.
Tun Dr Mahathir once said, and defended, that the Malays are lazy because they don’t study hard enough, because they can’t master the English language, and because they prefer to become mat rempits.
While it may be true that many of the social ills in Malay societies can be traced back to a potential lack of education, it is important that our own leaders refrain from using this trope that has its roots to the divide-and-rule method of the British colonisers.
Back then, the colonisers view the local Malay natives’ sedentary lifestyle as lazy to justify their colonisation efforts. Unfortunately, we still see the same sentiment being played out among many Malaysians. Even more unfortunate that it should come from our leaders themselves.
Instead of name-calling, the government should spend some effort on countering and winning back people from the opposite side with facts.
Instead of calling people who are paranoid with the government as “idiots”, they should spend time clarifying to the people that the government is not being controlled by a single group, and is a cohesive coalition, as they have always insisted. At the end of the day, the onus is on them to help form the perception of the people on them.
The rakyat who elected them a year ago wants to see them succeed where their predecessors could not. Even among the ones who did not, some would want to see them do well as a government, to move the country forward, and propel it to greater heights.
No one wants to see childish bickerings and name-calling in the media.
The government should do well to focus on their objectives, instead of deliberately fighting childishly without facts. Not only would it look bad, but more importantly it would deepen the polarisation between Malaysians.
 


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