KUALA LUMPUR – Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak said Saturday 2017 “promises to be a most unpredictable and probably ‘dangerous’ year for the entire world”.
He based this opinion on, among other things, the conflict in the Middle East, the war of words between Russia and America and fake stories being spread about Malaysia.
In a post on his blog, Salleh said the conflict in the Middle East would escalate into a tragedy unequalled in history if the ceasefire could not hold.
He also said that the war of words between Russia and America also threatened to bring the world back to the era of the cold war when it faced a doomsday scenario.
“Our only hope is that come the new year, (U.S. President-elect Donald) Trump and (Russian President Vladimir) Putin would sit down and resolve their (U.S. and Russian) differences.
The U.S.-Russia war of words regarding alleged Russian hacking of the 2016 U.S. presidential election has escalated over the past few days, with the Obama administration accusing Russia of having been deeply involved in an effort to ensure Trump’s election as president.
Salleh said: “A lot of these misunderstandings are caused by misperceptions and misinformation, and then develop into a conflict. The USA-Russian quarrel is a case in point, which is based on rumours and suspicions.”
He said Malaysia was also suffering from this same predicament.
“Fake stories are being spread about the country. Some say that Malaysia is going bankrupt. Then they say Tabung Haji (the pilgrims fund board) is going bankrupt. And these negative and misleading stories continue,” he said.
Salleh said Malaysians tend to accept lies and fake news as fact without properly checking the veracity and authenticity of the news.
“If we want to avoid falling into the rut of becoming a victim of deception, then we need to verify whatever we are told,” he said.