The below is the transcribed script from the interview. [Close to perfection]
31 October 2013
Christiane Amanpour interview Najib
A = How bad is it that President Obama had to conceal his trip to Malaysia?
N = It was a mis-opportunity for Obama to [3x] assert his leadership in the context of his policy pivot towards Malaysia….I KNOW HE REGRETS IT…I KNOW HE SEES THAT IN THAT MANNER…& when he called me, he said “with hook or by crook, I will visit Malaysia next year.” So we are looking forward to receiving…I don’t think that is fatal, I think that is a mis-opportunity.
Amanpour dictate =
Najib’s UN Speech – talked about “Need for moderation”, “one of the greatest threat to Islam & Muslim around the world is from within & not from the outside. “that extremism is taking life & crushing opportunity, I believe the greatest threat to Muslims today come not from the outside world but from within”
A= Can you win this battle?
N = [Gaze futuristically] We have to do more, really, I mean it’s very alarming the conflict between Sunni & Shi-ah, it’s really tearing apart the Muslim world. And it’s about time that we (3x) come to our senses &(3x) realise that MODERATION IS THE ONLY PATH THAT WILL ENSURE PEACE & STABILITY for the Muslim world & also for the WIDER world.
A = There’s also so much conflict between extremism (as you said) and also conservatism. Let’s look at Egypt right now, I like to know your take on whether you think it was the right thing to do to basically deposed a government there and right now, the latest to be arrested is a Moderate member of the Muslim brotherhood Essam el-Erian (62 years old, deputy leader of Muslim’s brotherhood). HOW CAN THAT FURTHER THE CAUSE OF MODERATION?
N = I know what I would have done. If I were the military / those who didn’t like the Muslim brotherhood, I would defooo…ah, waited until the next election. Because, they were elected and (you know) they deserve a chance to perform and show what’s their worth. But that’s
They have to find some sort of National Reconciliation or whatsoever. It’s not gonna be easy because (you know) their strong position of (you know) both sides that there must be a form of National Reconciliation.
A = You look fairly trouble about it & I wonder this has real “chilling effect” on the idea of moderate democracy in Islamic world?
N = In a sense, it does. Because, (you know) you push it to the extreme and it don’t accept democracy and the will of the people, you know, I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THAT.
A = It looks like you are under quite a lot of pressure from your conservatism at home & they are kinda forcing you into another U-turn as well, regarding the new reforms that you introduced. How much pressure (the conservatism) are putting on you, right now? I mean, we read for instance; superficial things that we see, like;
“The Court says ONLY MUSLIMS CAN USE ALLAH TO REFER TO GOD, whereas religions (in traditionally) use that word to refer to God, whether Muslim / not.
We see that A POP STAR IS BANNED from paying in Malaysia, IS BAD, ISN’T IT?
N = My priority is to ensure peace & harmony in Malaysia. That is uppermost in my mind. So, when a Court decides on certain thing, I have to respect the Court’s decision. To me, ‘IT’S NOT ABOUT WINNING A LEGAL ARGUMENT’, to me, it goes beyond that.
A = But, What does that say about the course of MODERATION? Look, your critics are saying that “you just survive the pretty internal battle, you won your latest election with a lower majority than you had before, you didn’t win the popular vote, but (you know) your coalition came to power and you’re having to throw “red meat” at the conservatism & hardliners, Whom you’ve been trying to change some of your reforms. Just tell me, frankly, How difficult it is to walk that line of MODERATION?
N = It’s all about having a long-term vision for the country. Ahhh, and (3x) we are committed to that long term vision for the country. But to move towards that long term vision, to achieve our long-term goals, there will be some growing pains along the way and if you want long term stability, you must make sure that the majority of the people are not MARGINALISE. But having said that, we do cater as well (in a very inclusive way) for the small minorities. For example; in my BUDGET speech, I addressed the concern of Malaysian Indian. So we are not racist at all.
A = I hear what you’re saying. BUT SOME OF THE FACTS MAY DISPUTE THAT. For instance; we read about massive brain drains by some Malaysian Indians, by some Malaysian Chinese. Because they worried about these things, you say you’re not racism – they say but hang on a second, the day is stack against us. Surely, this is a problem as you try to keep your economic engine generating as well.
N = The only way that we can be competitive so to speak to tell that hope is to provide more & more opportunities & create high paying jobs. that’s exactly what we’re doing. I like to mention in the recent, very very recent World Bank survey of ease of doing business, We have jumped from 12# to 6# in the world. That speak a volume of doing business in Malaysia.
A = Talk to me about POWER & ACCUMULATION OF POWER. Your coalition has been in power for 56 years. That’s a long time by any reckoning. Yeah….
N = I hope it is not too long…hahahahah
A= Some says it’s too long and seriously, someone say & I’m going to read you a list of some of what your critics say.
There were lots of allegation of fraud, buying votes, of double voting, phantom voters, the issue of gerrymandering…What do you say to that? Do you accept any of that? Do you deny at all?
N = By large, the allegations are totally unfounded. They’ve not been able to prove anything at all. For example, they alleged we brought in 40,000 people from Bangladesh to vote in the last election, and since the last Election they were not able to adduce any evidence to that.
A= But the allegations amounting and Human Rights people want to know exactly where you’re going. Does any of it concern you?
N = Since I took office, I’ve got a very positive record, For e.g.: I have disbanded the Internal Security Act [ISA] = Detention Without Trial, I have ended 5- years of Emergency Rule in Malaysia / Powers relating to Emergency Rule in Malaysia. I’ve allowed for Peaceful Assembly in Malaysia. So, I stand by my record that we have made fundamental changes in Malaysia.
A= You’re obviously under pressure, you’ve admitted yourself. You have a lot of conservatives on flank trying to undo all the reforms, trying to promote 1 of the things that has been quite troublesome that is PREFERRENTIAL TREATMENT TOWARDS ETHNIC MALAYS. Among other things, how much is your attempt to reform and drive moderation in Malaysia under threat right now?
N = I believe that we will achieve our goals. You know, in every country there will be people representing the whole breath of the political spectrum. Look what’s happening in the USA for example; They have the tea-party wrecking havoc of the political process in the United States. Unfortunately, we don’t have to that extent in Malaysia. We do have people who are perhaps, more conservative in their views, we have people who are more concern of ethnic balance in Malaysia.
A = with a different kind of havoc?
N = Yes, but we can manage. We have went through a recently successful election. And (3x) the party election was hugely successful. So, I have the mandate from the people, I have the mandate from the party and I know with the mandate from the party & people, we can make the reforms and we will deliver Malaysia as an advance economy come the year 2020. God willing, Insya-Allah
A= Thank you for joining me
N = Thank you.