A victory for the Warisan candidate in Kimanis, Karim Bujang on January 18 will be an endorsement for the Sabah and Malaysian nation-building formula of inter-racial and inter-religious unity, co-operation, understanding and tolerance and rejection of lies, fake news, hate speech and most irresponsible extremism.
I have found myself in a most difficult and unenviable position in the past 20 months.
I had been attacked as the greatest threat to Malay rights and interests in the country, who had reduced the Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to a mere puppet, to further my ulterior agenda as a Chinese chauvinist and a communist. And yet to the Chinese, I had been attacked as having sold out the rights and interests of Chinese in Malaysia and have become a puppet and a “running dog” to Mahathir.
We must reject all these lies, fake news, hate speech and most irresponsible extremism in Sabah and Malaysia for Mahathir is not my puppet and neither have I become Mahathir’s “running dog”.
But what is most shocking is that these most irresponsible extremists who spout such contradictory lies, fake news, hate speech could co-operate politically to want to destroy the Pakatan Harapan-Warisan government in Putrajaya and Sabah.
In the past 20 months, there is a most dangerous and irresponsible polarisation of multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious Malaysia, through lies, fake news and hate speech, aided by the ever-present Internet and social media, threatening to tear the country apart instead of the country benefitting from the great diversities in the country.
It is a lie that Mahathir is my puppet. It is also a lie that I have become a “running dog” to Mahahthir. But what is most shocking of all, is how the preachers of these shocking and contradictory lies could co-operate, if they really believe in their lies, fake news and hate speech?
It is not only Sabah and Malaysia that is facing the dangers of extreme polarisation through lies, fake news and hate speech aided by the Internet and social media. In the recent Indonesian presidential elections, for instance, Jokowi was attacked as a Chinese and a communist.
We must not allow these preachers of lies, fake news, hate speech and irresponsible extremism on the social media to succeed, for Sabah and Malaysia can only become great if we can turn our ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious diversities into our assets instead of our liabilities.
In the Sandakan parliamentary by-election, the voters of Sandakan rejected these irresponsible politicking. Kimanis will be another opportunity for Sabahans to show to Malaysians that the future of Sabah and Malaysia lies in moderation, tolerance, understanding and harmony in multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious society and not in lies, fake news, hate speech and irresponsible extremism in the era of Internet and social media.