Dr M: Don't abuse freedom of speech to cause chaos

Azura Abas, Irwan Shafrizan Ismail and Mohd Husni Mohd Noor

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today warned that freedom of speech should not be used to stir up chaos.

He said that while the government was all for the freedom of speech, expression and the media, it should not be taken as freedom to stir trouble, in particular on matters of race and religion.

“We are blessed that despite extremists and fanatics trying to stir racial and religious zealotry, the majority of our people have either rejected or ignored them,” he said at the launch of Poh Kong’s Gold Note of Hope programme, of which a portion of the sales made from the gold note will go into Tabung Harapan Malaysia. Poh Kong also pledged RM1 million to the fund.

“But, that doesn’t mean we should take it for granted that they will not one day be able to galvanise and mobilise enough to inflict untold damage. So be vigilant.”

Dr Mahathir said the launch of the Gold Note programme could not have come at a more opportune time as Malaysia and Malaysians were at a crossroads where decisions had to be made on how the nation should move forward.

“Having successfully liberated our nation and ourselves from the shackles of kleptocracy and an oppressive regime, we now have to manage that success.

“It is not easy. Expectations on the government are very high and that makes the responsibilities heavier.

“Such expectations are only to be expected given the high hopes pinned on the current government to clean up the mess and debts left behind by the previous regime.

“We have pledged to restore the nation to its rightful position – an Asian Tiger and a respected nation with pride and integrity.

“We are going to give it our best and our only hope is that the citizenry will bear with our missteps.

“But, whatever it takes, we will and have committed ourselves to undertake this task. It is also our hope that as we trudge forward on this journey, the rakyat will rally around and join us in rebuilding this country.”

Dr Mahathir congratulated Poh Kong’s executive chairman and group managing director Datuk Choon Yee Seiong and his team for coming up with the Gold Note and pledging part of the proceeds to the Tabung Harapan. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd