Opposition fears Najib’s China visit

 |Nov 6, 2016
Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak.
Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak.

The country’s opposition leaders are so restless over the roaring success of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s recent visit to China that they had planned for Mahathir Mohamad to make a comeo appearance in Parliament this week to cushion its political impact.

While some had accused Najib of ‘selling’ Malaysia to China, Federal Minister Salleh Said Keruak said that the opposition dare not openly and aggressively criticise Najib for fear of a backlash from the Chinese community.

He said the opposition was definitely jealous and worried about Najib’s China visit, which has turned out to be a roaring success.

He said that some observers had hailed the visit was a brilliant move, reminiscent of what Najib’s father, the late Abdul Razak Hussein, did in 1974.

“The opposition is worried that the China visit may sway some opposition voters and fence-sitters.

“So this Tuesday, they are planning for Mahathir to make a ‘guest appearance’ in Parliament to distract Malaysians and divert attention away from the China visit,” said Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh in a blog posting on Sunday.

In his Budget 2017 speech on Oct 21, Najib announced the setting up of a digital free zone.

During the China trip, Najib announced the appointment of Alibaba Group founder, Jack Ma, as an advisor to the Malaysian government to develop the country’s digital economy.

“Further to that, China’s investments in Malaysia will create jobs and opportunities for all Malaysians and will offer the country a brighter future,” said Salleh, who is the Umno treasurer.

On another matter, he reminded federal ministers that they had sworn an oath of secrecy and confidentiality in front of His Majesty, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong when they took office and joined the cabinet.

He reminded that their oath had no “expiry date” and the Official Secrets Act (OSA) 1972 would apply even after they had left office.

“So the trio who recently left office should be very careful about revealing what by law they should not reveal if they wish to avoid facing legal proceedings and not hide behind Parliamentary immunity,” said Salleh.

He was referring to former cabinet ministers – Deputy Prime Minister Muhyidin Yassin, Second Finance Minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah and Mohd Shafie Apdal, who were being investigated under OSA, for allegedly leaking details of cabinet meetings during the current parliamentary sitting.

Athi Shankar has been a journalist for past 30 years. He believes that democratic rights come with responsibility.