There are limits to criticism, Salleh Said tells Dr Mahathir

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 02 Jul 2016

PETALING JAYA: There are limits to criticism, Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak (pic) has told Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, adding that the former premier doesn’t understand the meaning of the word “criticise”.

In a blog post on Saturday, the Communications and Multimedia Minister said Dr Mahathir had implied that people were being arrested or sacked from Umno for criticising others.

“Mahathir is saying that people are being arrested or sacked from the party for insulting other people or for calling other people all sorts of nasty names.

“Surely Mahathir cannot be serious by suggesting that, for example, if someone were to say that Muslims are following the religion of Satan (like what they say in some countries) that is not a crime and no action should be taken,” he said in response to a blog post by Dr Mahathir which gave the impression that Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was arrested and charged because he had criticised the Prime Minister.

On Thursday, Lim claimed trial to using his position as a public servant to obtain gratification for himself and his wife Betty Chew, by approving an application by Magnificent Emblem to convert two lots of agricultural land in the southwest district for residential purposes during a state planning committee meeting on July 18, 2014.

He also denied another charge of using his position to obtain gratification by purchasing his house from businesswoman Phang Li Koon at RM2.8mil, which was below the property’s market value of RM4.27mil on July 28, 2015.

Phang, 44, was slapped with an abetment charge for allegedly selling the bungalow on Pinhorn Road to Lim on July 28, 2015 at below its actual market value.

Salleh further pointed out that criticism which was offensive was not allowed even in liberal countries.

“Even in the more liberal and democratic UK they will not allow you to say things like that.

“Was it not Mahathir himself who said that Malaysia is a unique country with so many different ethnicities where absolute freedom cannot be allowed?

“Mahathir reminded us that the Malaysian situation is very delicate and it does not take much to spark a riot. This is why the Government has to control what you can and cannot say in case someone says something that triggers bloodshed,” said Salleh.

He stressed that the former premier had now turned away from his own words and appears to not understand the meaning of the word “criticise”.

“Calling someone a dog or pig cannot be classified as criticising.

“We also have libel and slander laws that make it a crime to allege something against someone that is not true and in this game of politics we must not lose track of decency, truth and the legality of what we are doing,” he said.

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