Letter: Student support for Malaysia's PM

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The Independent Online
Sir: I am a Malaysian student currently studying in a university in the UK. In the light of the issues surrounding the Pergau dam, I would like to give my opinion about the negative press coverage of the Malaysian government.

Our country practises democracy - but it is our own unique brand of democracy, which suits the eastern culture of giving importance to the community first, and the individual second. In Malaysia, you can exercise your rights as long as you do not infringe another person's rights.

Malaysia is a blend of Asiatic cultures: there are the Malays, the Chinese, Indians and various other indigenous groups. If one person brings up issues, on purpose, which are sensitive to another's tradition or religion, his actions may result in chaos and disturb the harmony and stability of the country. To us this is not democracy, it is an infringement of rights.

The Prime Minister, Mohamad Mahathir, has concentrated on giving Malaysians a sense of pride in being Malaysian. This is to help us get rid of the ingrained inferiority complex that has resulted from colonisation. He has also concentrated on long-term programmes to develop the country by attracting foreign investments.

The Malaysian government has influence and power due to its consistent credibility and not through a 'thin-skinned' prime minister who tries to gain fame by attacking the values of the British press, a man who is used to a controlled press in Malaysia, or the various other incredible claims made by the British press.

I am sorry that UK businesses may lose billions of pounds in trade due to this 'freedom of the press', which appears to be an obsession. I am sorry for Britain, but one can only take so much criticism. It would be tolerable if these news stories were written as constructive criticisms, but in the light of the damaging reports about my government, I and many other Malaysians wholly support our government's action.

Yours sincerely,



3 March