FMT LETTER: From Ranesa Jegatheesa, via e-mail
When Najib Tun Razak took over as the Prime Minister in April 2009, many were skeptical about his ability to lead this country for a simple reason that he took over the weakest ever mandate that Barisan Nasional has had in Malaysia’s history.
However, in just three years, he proved that he is a man of his word and that he walks the talk in ensuring that what he has promised for the rakyat is delivered. Apart from being aggressive and innovative in his approaches to the rakyat, Najib proved that he is also a bold and decisive leader when he took the stage to address the nation on the eve of the 48th Malaysia Day last year.
Najib’s Political Transformation Programme (PTP) led to the ending of Malaysia’s State of Emergency with the revocation of all existing proclamation of emergencies and their legislations which includes the repeal of the colonial-era Internal Security Act (ISA).
He went on to amend the Printing Presses and Publications Act, therefore removing the requirement for newspapers and printed publications to renew their license to print annually. He also guaranteed the right to assemble peacefully without the need for police permission by enacting the new Peaceful Assembly Act.
No one would ever expected the announcements he made that night. As one would say, you need guts to do away with such laws.
But no, Najib’s PTP just didn’t stop there. To prove that he really meant business, just a few days ago Najib announced the repeal of the colonial-era Sedition Act 1948. This really marked another milestone in his wide-ranging series of reforms designed to promote Malaysia’s development into a mature, modern and progressive democracy.
The repealed Sedition Act will be replaced with a new National Harmony Act that will safeguard the right to freedom of speech while protecting national unity by preventing the incitement of religious or ethnic hatred.
He has also instructed the Attorney General to hold full public consultations before the new legislation is drafted to ensure that the views of all Malaysians are represented. This clealy shows that the premier is not only interested in his own views but wants the public to play a larger role in his transformation initiatives.
Najib ensured that while repealing a law that represents a bygone era, the new law will balance the right of freedom of expression as enshrined in the Constitution while ensuring that all races and religion are protected.
He also stressed that the new law underlines his commitment in nurturing the harmony and mutual respect that has been Malaysia’s foundation of stability and success.
It simply cannot be denied that Najib’s approach in transforming the political landscape of the country is clearly ground-breaking and the historic reforms he has delivered represents the biggest shake-up of the Malaysian political system since independence from Britain. And for this path-breaking record, all Malaysians, including the Opposition, are hopeful for the future.