KUALA LUMPUR – Far from being a failed state, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said Malaysia is a thriving country that attracts huge investments and has been acclaimed by global institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund for the reforms undertaken.
The prime minister vowed that in efforts to bring more foreign direct investment (FDI) to the country, he would never jeopardise Malaysia’s sovereignty.
He labelled those trying to say that FDI led to the country selling its sovereignty as ‘critics with little knowledge of economics’.
“To say so is pure ignorance and betrays a complete lack of understanding of how trade between nations benefits all parties, especially the people. I will never give up an inch of our sovereignty. Ever,” he said.
Najib said this when addressing the Publish Asia event and the 16th Asian Media Awards organised by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) here tonight.
Also present were Bernama chairman Datuk Seri Azman Ujang and WAN-IFRA president Marcelo Rech.
Malaysia, he said, was making strides in building infrastructure projects which included a truly world-class public transport system that would benefit the people.
“Other countries recognise what we’re doing. The confidence they have in Malaysia has been demonstrated in the last few months by a series of huge investments that have been announced by China, Saudi Arabia and India,” he said.
Najib cited a recent report published by BAV Consulting and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania which named Malaysia as the best country to invest in, stating that Malaysia was the clear front runner.
He, however, expressed concern over fake news entering the mainstream and lies masquerading as facts, including those about Malaysia.
This represented a cancer at the heart of journalism which could have serious effects, he said, alluding to the example of what nearly happened to the Petronas Pengerang Integrated Complex in Johor.
“Saudi Aramco’s US$7 billion in the project was almost wrecked after a former leader told lies about the state of our country’s economy that was amplified by the media,” Najib said.
The prime minister said it was the duty of publishers, editors and reporters to maintain readers’ trust and to fight to the last this tide of fake and false news that threatened to turn truth into a purely subjective matter, with little relation to actual facts.
“The government of Malaysia will be on your side. All we ask in return is the opportunity to remind you to rely in your reporting and sourcing…on verified facts,” he said, noting that this applied to whichever country that may be.
Najib said they must not rely on rumours, unsourced anonymous quotes or invented propaganda.
He also took a swipe at foreign activists talking about “crackdowns” on free speech in Malaysia.
“But look at our press. You will find criticism of the government, of our ministers, of our officials, in our newspapers every day,” he said. — Bernama
– Malay Mail