KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has slammed spin doctors for doctoring pictures of his recent haj pilgrimage, accusing them of trying to squeeze political mileage by portraying him as getting special treatment in Mecca.
He said certain parties have politicised his pilgrimage by editing out fellow pilgrims from pictures of him and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor performing the tawaf or the ritual procession around the Kaaba.
“This was done to spark the anger of the people against (the country’s) leaders. Where are their morals and ethics? Slander is a major sin,” he said.
Last month, several blogs carried pictures of Najib and Rosmah allegedly performing the tawaf separately from the thousands of other pilgrims.
Some pictures showed the couple allegedly being surrounded by a security detail. This is the first time Najib has hit out at those who spread the pictures.
The last time this issue was raised was at the recent Umno general assembly, when party deputy president and Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin accused the Opposition of spreading lies and slander against Najib while he performed the holy rites.
Najib, who was speaking at a gathering of ulama, umara and imam at the Putra World Trade Centre here yesterday, said this was an example of efforts to besiege Islam both physically and mentally.
The Umno president said Muslims needed to be cautious and ready to face the numerous tests that their faith in and understanding of Islam would face, warning that there were always those who strove to confuse the faithful into practising liberalism and pluralism.
At a separate function later, Najib announced that the Malaysia National Institute of Translation (ITNM) would receive RM5mil to finance publication of books.
“Every serious writer, including young writers, must be given a helping hand in publishing and distributing their work,” he said before launching the National Association of Writers (Pena) 50th anniversary celebration last night.
He said the ITNM, which would be rebranded as the Malaysia National Institute of Translation and Books (ITBM), would receive the allocation in stages over the next two years, starting with RM3mil.
“We have decided to expand the role of the company to include the publishing of original literary works to further encourage the industry.
“We hope Pena, as a stakeholder in the industry, will also help monitor the quality of work produced by young writers,” he said, adding that Pena would also receive an allocation of RM1mil.