The Economist article on Malaysia slammed for 'arrogant, colonial mindset'

AUDREY VIJAINDREN

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Datuk Ahmad Rasidi Hazizi, has called out The Economist over its series of articles which disparaged the Malaysian government and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

In a letter to the editor, published in The Economist, Rasidi said the articles from the London-based publication contained serious errors and “reeked of an arrogant colonial mindset”.

He said the article, titled “Stop, thief!”, “Tilting the playing field”, had disparaged the prime minister, the government, police, judiciary, election commission, media and even Malaysian voters.

Rasidi also criticised the article for its portrayal of the 1Malaysia Development Fund (1MDB) issue.

“For example, America’s Department of Justice never accused Najib Razak, the prime minister, of “siphoning” off funds, nor has Mr Najib ever suggested that the funds were a “gift from an unnamed admirer”.

“In fact, the prime minister and numerous officials have stated that the funds—the vast majority of which were returned—were a donation from the royal family of Saudi Arabia. This has been confirmed by the Saudi foreign minister, who has publicly stated that the funds were “a genuine donation with nothing expected in return” and that the Saudi authorities consider the matter closed,” said Rasidi.

Rasidi also took to task the article’s claim that the redrawing of electoral boundaries to account for population growth is akin to “rigging the system”.

“(This)... reveals the double standards for Western countries and the rest of the world.

“Your allegation would imply that numerous democracies are guilty of the same charge, not least Britain, where significant constituency changes are expected in advance of the next election. In Malaysia these changes were proposed and implemented by the independent Election Commission and subsequently approved by the judiciary, whose impartiality is evidenced by the fact that it frequently rules against the government and senior ministers,” he said.

Rasidi went on to say that since Najib took office in 2009, Malaysia’s gross national income has increased by more than 50 per cent, 2.3m jobs have been created, unemployment and inflation have been kept low and poverty reduced significantly.

“Indeed, the Malaysian economy is growing at such a fast rate that the World Bank had to increase its estimates for our growth three times over 2017, to 5.8 per cent. The government’s plan for the economic well-being and security of Malaysia and its people is delivering.

“This is the true story of Malaysia. Your reporting appears to have been based exclusively on falsehoods pushed by opposition parties and their sympathisers for political gain ahead of the coming election,” he said.


Malaysian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Datuk Ahmad Rasidi Hazizi. (Bernama Photo)

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