PETALING JAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad should issue a public apology over a controversial statement on the recent racially-motivated attacks in France, says the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ).
CIJ said Dr Mahathir should use his position and seniority as a public figure to educate the masses and promote the elimination of all forms of discrimination, rather than abusing social media to provoke and incite hostility.
“Dr Mahathir must issue a public apology for his remarks without further delay and issue a retraction statement. His blog posting on the matter must also be taken down immediately, ” said CIJ yesterday.
CIJ, in condemning Dr Mahathir’s remarks, said while freedom of expression is recognised by international law, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that anyone should be free from incitement to discrimination.
It also cited various anti-discrimination conventions, and said that a person of Dr Mahathir’s stature should be careful with words due to far-reaching repercussions.
“It is alarming and grossly irresponsible of the former prime minister to propagate the above-listed message, as such virulent and hate-laden statements may trigger the worst of actions, such as provoking imminent violence or crimes, ” added CIJ.
Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing has said the rule of law must be respected, and that Dr Mahathir’s comments are solely his own.
“The law of civilised nations is that no one is allowed to take the law into their own hands, let alone take somebody’s life just because that person happens to disagree with his beliefs or stance on certain issues.
“That’s why we have laws and the court system to ensure we don’t revert to the laws of the jungle, ” said James, adding that Dr Mahathir’s comment on the killings in France is a reflection of who he is as a person.
“It’s not Malaysian. We live and abide by the rule of law, ” he added.
However, former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak said everyone should read Dr Mahathir’s statement in full before reacting.
“The world should calm down and read @chedetofficial’s statement in its full context. I’m sure he didn’t mean exactly what he said.
“And even if he did, it’s his personal opinion, not Malaysia’s, ” he tweeted yesterday, where he also tagged Dr Mahathir’s handle.
However, Najib added that Dr Mahathir’s social media accounts “should be taken away from him before he does more damage”.
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