A few nights ago, while walking back to my house in Bangsar, a stranger approached me from behind and said threateningly: “Be careful ‘Keling’!” (A derogatory term used to describe dark-skinned Indians). My better sense prevailed and I just ignored him and continued walking on at the same pace.
Thankfully, the stranger who spoke these words didn’t follow. Since I am struggling with a number of health issues, I was already strained and tired walking home and didn’t need this disturbance. It was dark and late and I managed to walk home safely.
The reason this threat was leveled at me, I suspect, is because of a number of hard-hitting articles I wrote for social media. Early this year, police officers showed up at now-defunct The Ant Daily looking for me over an article I wrote titled: “Unmasking Tun Abdul Razak and the ugly truths about him.”
It was surprising and suspicious that the police officers showed up about two months after the article was published in which I am supposed to have defamed Najib’s father, the late Tun Abdul Razak. But the entire article read by viewers was completely factual and historically true to which many readers agreed.
Since 1984 I have been teaching and writing in different parts of Asia, most of the time in Malaysia, and have not come across such gross actions against fair-minded commentators and the failure to go through the right channels to communicate their disagreements using proper protocol and decorum.
Media practitioners are not above the law but there are proper ways and means to communicate both concord and discord about the content of an article. This is part and parcel of the freedom of expression supposedly guaranteed under the federal constitution.
Everyone, media practitioners, readers and the authorities should abide by the rules of the game and not get downright dirty in the tactics they use but conform to the code of conduct and ethics for everyone.
When I communicated the threat to a friend, the suggestion was to lodge a police report against the stranger. But given the fact that I have written a number of articles flaying the police for their false policing and being heavily corrupt, I think they should be secretly pleased by this threat towards me.
But this seems to be the sorry state of our nation where the laws are applied selectively to protect the corrupt and wrongdoers while the innocent and those crying out for justice are persecuted. But it is high time to restore the affairs of this state back to practicing true democracy.
The silent majority should not stay silent in the face of injustice and oppression but speak up without fear or favor and help get this lost or fractured nation back on the right path. It is the civic duty of every decent, right and proper Malaysian to act and think fairly now for the betterment of our country.
OPEN LETTER FROM CHRISTOPHER FERNANDEZ