Beware of ‘loose’ promises and false info, says Raja Nazrin
KUALA LUMPUR, June 11 — The public must be careful when encountering criticisms against government institutions that may be false or lack sufficient evidence, Perak Crown Prince Raja Dr Nazrin Shah said today.
“The challenge for ordinary Malaysians is to be discerning enough to not fall prey to religious or ethnic posturing, or be swayed by loose promises and ill-founded stories,” said Raja Nazrin in a lecture titled “The Challenges of Governance in Contemporary Malaysia”.
He acknowledged that public scrutiny is needed to help ensure good governance, but said some criticisms appeared intended to discredit government institutions.
“Unfortunately, there also appears to be a tendency among some quarters to criticise and condemn without sufficient basis, to exaggerate and falsify information, and to deliberately undermine the credibility of institutions,” he said.
He said that “the gullible and the disenchanted become easy prey” to such information on the Internet.
He cautioned that by circulating this manner of material, the public may unwittingly “destroy” the institutions needed for the smooth running of the government.
Raja Nazrin also said there must be “restraints on the arbitrary exercise” of public officials’ powers to ensure that their “positions of trust and responsibility are not used for private gain and that the national interest, and not special interests, is always served.”
“The importance of transparency and a zero tolerance towards corruption cannot be emphasised enough.”
He noted that another challenge facing Malaysia is managing an “increasingly polarised society” in a climate of weakened national unity.
He said “opposing points of view have hardened and become more entrenched”, and lacked the “spirit of accommodation”.
“Demands have become more vocal... framed in ever more aggressive and confrontational terms, and sometimes even accompanied by acts of violence.”
He also said the government’s legislative reforms had brought the “laws on civil liberties and national security up-to-date, making them more compatible with international norms.”