While Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Shahidan Kassim accuses PKR of smearing Malaysia’s reputation abroad, the party’s vice-president Rafizi Ramli countered that it is BN’s own actions that have brought shame to the country.
Rafizi said the issues he discussed in his meetings in Australia included the government’s use of race and religion to maintain power, the use of the Sedition Act to persecute dissidents, and press alleged false charges against PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim.
None of these, he said, are new issues and they have already received widespread coverage in the foreign media.
“The actions of Umno and BN have, all this while, been drawing the international community’s attention to Malaysia’s deteriorating democratic and human rights record.
“I wish to remind Umno and the BN that in today’s world, any action that is against democratic norms will invite condemnation and reaction from many parties around the globe,” Rafizi said in a statement today.
'Rights groups to rap Malaysia in their reports'
Based on his meetings with the international NGOs Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, he said, the two groups intend to criticise Malaysia’s human rights record in their respective annual human rights reports.
This is in part due to the charges against Anwar, Rafizi said, as well as the use of parts of the Penal Code for politically-motivated charges to give the appearance of a normal criminal investigation.
“Therefore, if Umno and the BN sincerely want to safeguard Malaysia’s reputation in the eyes of the world, they need to stop taking actions that are against democratic norms,” he said.
Rafizi, who is also the Pandan MP, is a part of a PKR delegation that is meeting Australian politicians.
Others in the entourage are Penampang MP Darrell Leiking, Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin, Seri Setia assemblyperson Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, and Semambu assemblyperson Lee Chean Chung.
Shahidan (right) has reportedly accused them of giving foreign leaders the wrong impression of Malaysia.
"I don't agree with certain quarters going overseas to condemn our country... not just to party leaders but to the party that rules the country.
"You go abroad to reproach this country, then you return to Malaysia and ultimately meet the people you insult,” The Malaysian Insider quoted Shahidan as saying.
However, Rafizi asserted that is the right of the delegation members, as elected representatives, and PKR’s right as a political party to build relations with foreign politicians.
“The tactic of accusing the opposition that it likes to smear Malaysia’s reputation aboard can no longer be used.
“Umno and the BN do not make Malaysia, and their actions do not represent the people or the nation of Malaysia, especially when Umno and BN are a minority government that only got 47 percent of the votes in the 13th general election,” Rafizi added.