One of the many evils of political spin is that, like all forms of lying, it casts a pall of suspicion over the very language(s) we rely on for communication with each other by robbing previously respectable words of their true meanings.
The most obvious current example from my point of view being the word ‘innovation’, which is being mercilessly used to weave webs of lies in both Australia and Malaysia.
Down here in Australia, the incumbent Liberal-National Coalition is fighting for its survival in the forthcoming July general election on a platform of what it calls ‘innovation’, but is actually little more than a proposed cut in the company tax rate that it claims will produce ‘jobs and growth’.
But at the same time it is cutting billions of dollars out of the budgets of Australia’s genuine engines of innovation, ranging from education in general to alternative-energy initiatives and the nation’s world-renowned Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in particular.
Meanwhile, as if this abuse of the word ‘innovation’ in Australia wasn’t enough to give the word a thoroughly bad name, in Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has gone and ganged-up on it too.
Speaking at the Yayasan Sime Darby Young Innovators Challenge 2016 Awards in Kuala Lumpur, he has reportedly made the false claim that his government ‘will be receptive to new ideas that lead to innovation.’
‘We need an ecosystem, culture of innovation and education system that would encourage people to think innovatively and creatively,’ he went on.
I must confess I almost stopped reading at this point, as sickened as I was by such hypocrisy from the current leader of a regime that has spent the past five decades or so thwarting any and every effort by Malaysians to think innovatively and creatively about anything whatever, but especially about better government and governance than the deadly version provided by Umno/BN.
In fact, now that Najib has prompted me to think about it, the only innovations that the regime has ever encouraged have been crimes, corruptions and sundry other sinnovations for the benefit of its members, cronies and kin.
Sinnovations and kinnovations like the current massive 1MDB scandal, for example, which Najib was clearly referring to in his later contention in this speech that ‘as a nation we must encourage innovation if we want to progress because in an increasingly competitive environment, only nations that are capable of innovating will succeed.’
In other words, he was clearly contending that Malaysians should not view scams like 1MDB as thefts, or, if you like, skinnovations of the people, but as honest failures to achieve success on their behalf.
Or as Najib expressed this sentiment later in his self-justifying speech, ‘today we must be brave enough to celebrate failure, ironically, because if you are bold enough to innovate, or try to innovate, some will fail along the way.’
But that wasn’t the end of Najib’s desperate attempts at spinnovation of his 1MDB and associated M2.6-billion ‘donation’ debacle.
During a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum summit on Asean in Kuala Lumpur, he dismissed international comments and actions on 1MDB with the remark that ‘the problem is a problem of perception, the problem is the noise level outside.’
As DAP leader Lim Kit Siang subsequently commented on this ludicrous lie, ‘Najib’s denial is the worst among all the six Malaysian Prime Ministers when he can regard the Singapore and Swiss crackdowns on multi-billion ringgit 1MDB embezzlement, money-laundering and corruption as “a problem of noise”.’
‘The prime minister cannot be more wrong, and he must be told in no uncertain terms that his premiership is now a liability…unless he can come clean on the various financial and mismanagement scandals haunting and hounding the country for over a year,’ Lim added.
This amply exemplifies the fact that the noise level on 1MDB and related matters inside Malaysia is every whit as loud as it is outside, but Najib is attempting to muzzle his critics in Malaysia by every possible illegitimate means, and also trying to create a diversion by permitting PAS to engage in a parliamentary push for hudud.
As if the Malaysian people, and especially the Malays, who have had their race and religion hijacked for blatantly political purposes, hadn’t suffered more than enough punishment at the hands of the sinnovating, kinnovating, skinnovating and above all spinnovating Umno/BN regime.