KUCHING (July 21): Deputy Prime Minister Dato Seri Fadillah Yusof is optimistic that the current federal administration can play a significant role as a uniting force to counter the political turbulence in the past few years.
Speaking to The Borneo Post and Utusan Borneo in an exclusive interview in connection with Sarawak’s 60th Independence Day, he believed there was still a window to forge unity and inclusiveness in politics despite the current political challenges.
He agreed that political party polarisation was one of the main contributors to the heightening tensions among Malaysians.
However, Fadillah said it was unfair to say that politics in Malaysia had become ‘toxic’ and divisive as the composition of the current federal government reflects the spirit of unity despite their different political backgrounds.
“While politics in Malaysia may face challenges that contribute to division among the people, I believe that the term ‘toxic’ may not fairly capture the complexity of the situation.
“To address these issues, we must respect political freedom, prioritise the needs of the people over self-interest, and work towards the stability of our country’s economy. By embracing these principles, I am confident that we can foster a more inclusive, united, and prosperous society for all Malaysians,”he said when asked if he agreed that politics in Malaysia has become ‘toxic’ to the point of causing division among the people.
Adding on, Fadillah, who is also Plantation and Commodities Minister, opined such a situation should be viewed in a more positive way.
He said instead of seeing it as ‘toxic’ it could foster a healthy political environment and encourage more constructive debates that help to form better policy outcomes.
“Respecting political freedom is crucial in fostering a healthy political environment. It is important to embrace diverse opinions and encourage constructive debates that lead to better policy outcomes and a more inclusive society.
“I firmly believe that we can create an environment where different perspectives coexist without causing division, fostering a stronger and more united nation,”he said.
But Fadillah also acknowledged that there is a need to tone down the political heat as the current situation was caused by certain quarters who had exploited their position.
He said what was needed now was a concerted effort among all political parties to find their common ground despite their differences in ideology and their versions of Malaysia.
He also opined that politicians need to conduct honest soul-searching, reflect on themselves by looking closely at their intention as people’s representative.
“While some may argue that politics in Malaysia has become toxic and divisive, I believe that the term ‘toxic’ may be somewhat exaggerated.
“However, I do acknowledge that there are instances where politics has contributed to division among the people. Addressing this issue requires a multifaceted approach rooted in respect, selflessness, and a focus on the well-being of our citizens.
“In the current situation, we must prioritise the needs of the people above self-interest. It is our duty as political leaders to set aside personal agendas and work collaboratively for the greater good.
“By doing so, we can foster a spirit of unity and cooperation that transcends political divisions,”he said, adding that the focus should be on serving the people and ensuring their well-being, regardless of political affiliations.
Fadillah added that having an open dialogue with all parties in the government would maintain its stability.
According to him, what the unity government needs to do now is to champion a more inclusive society by implementing sound economic policies, promote sustainable development, and create a conducive business environment.
“Furthermore, our main focus should lie in ensuring the stability of our country’s economy.
“A prosperous and harmonious society is built on a strong and thriving economy that provides opportunities for all citizens. By implementing sound economic policies, promoting sustainable development, and creating a conducive business environment, we can lay the foundation for prosperity and harmony,”he said.
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had announced Fadillah and Barisan Nasional chairman, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, as deputy prime ministers on Dec 2 last year.
Fadillah, who is Petra Jaya MP and the Gabungan Parti Sarawak whip, is the first Sarawakian and indeed the first Malaysian from Sarawak or Sabah to be appointed as a deputy prime minister.