Former US Ambassador to Malaysia John Mallot’s article, ‘The Price of Malaysia’s Racism’ published by the Asian Wall Street Journal (AWSJ) recently has met with criticism by our leaders, notably from Information, Communication and Culture Minister Dato Seri Dr Rais Yatim, and Deputy PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yasin.
If Rais Yatim is amazed that AWSJ had published Mallot’s article that accused the Malaysian government ‘of tolerating and in some cases, provoking ethnic factionalism through words and actions’, I too am amazed at the response given by Rais Yatim, and including that of Muhyiddin Yasin.
Being senior ministers and seasoned members of the ruling government, I would have thought that both should be able to provide an intellectual response to the article and substantiated with facts as rebuttal, rather than to admonish Mallot like a teacher scolding his/her pupil.
I wish to draw my readers to some of the responses that I read from the media as under:
Rais Yatim said, I quote“When he was the Ambassador in KL, Mallot enjoyed the modernity and progress of our country. Of course, he preferred to associate himself with the opposition. We abhor such an envoy” Rais Yatim went on to describe Mallot’s criticism as outdated.
Muhyiddin Yassin said, I quote “Just his personal opinion and the media shouldn’t make a fuss”unquote. Quote “I do not know where he is now”unquote. Quote “His comments don’t carry any weight now because he holds no public office” unquote.
Are the responses from the two ministers above enough to convince Malaysians like me, to believe that the responses are intellectually acceptable? I don’t think so, and I am not convinced as well.
Now just read what Umar Mukhtar’s response to Mallot’s article that is published in Malaysian Insider today Friday, 11 February, and compare that to the responses by the two ministers. Don’t you see the difference?
I do not know who Umar Mukhtar is, but he has provided a ‘tit-for-tat’ answer to what all Mallot has written. This is what I call an intellectual answer; not a ‘school boy’ type answers. I am not saying that the two ministers are intellectually deficient, but what I want to impress upon them is that they ought to put on their thinking cap before making any statements or responses, especially to the media.
Please remember Mr. Minister, that whatever you say goes a long way, and I am quite sure Millot too reads your responses.
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