Friday, January 13, 2017

Malaysians too sensitive?

MM Online - Another Facebook user in hot water over Adenan post (extracts):

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 12 — A second man was arrested today for posting allegedly defamatory and provocative remarks about the late Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem on Facebook.

The Star Online reported this evening that police in Sarawak and Pahang teamed up to nab the 36-year-old man in his Kuantan house at 5pm, adding that he will be flown to Kuching tomorrow to be investigated further.

While I am not advocating slander and vile insults on the internet, especially against the 'dearly departed', and that we should as far as possible be always civil to others, I think Malaysian authorities might have been either extra sensitive or extremely intolerant.

The late Adenan Satem was a public office holder and though now gone and we should always (as far as possible) respect the dead, he should not be above criticism for his performance in office.

I hope the authorities are not exploiting his sad death as an excuse to intimidate citizens into silence about the performance of public office holders.

Another factor which has attracted official/police attention has been allegations of insults to religion. The authorities must draw a clear distinction between the religion itself and the clerics. While the former should not be subjected to vilifications, the latter are fair game if their performance to their parish and/or in the public arena have been questionable - eg. Islam is sacrosanct but not JAKIM or any Mufti.

Australian very conservative (former) PM John Howard selected a cleric to be governor-general of Australia. The Queen who was/is the titular head of state of Australia then approved the selection. But the governor-general, who would be considered as the Oz equivalent of a deputy Agong, was hounded from office because of criticism of his time as a cleric.

Wikipedia says: Peter John Hollingworth AC, OBE (born 10 April 1935) is an Australian retired Anglican bishop. Engaged in social work for several decades, he served as the Archbishop of Brisbane for 11 years from 1989 and was the 1991 Australian of the Year.

He served as the 23rd Governor-General of Australia from 2001 until 2003. He is also an author and recipient of various civil and ecclesiastical honours. 

In 2003 he became only the third governor-general to resign, after criticisms were aired over his conduct as Archbishop of Brisbane in the 1990s.

In the West, the sort of adverse remarks one reads being made against national leaders such as PM, ministers (presidents etc) and public servants have been and are the norm. The only comments not tolerated would be incitements to kill, riot, rob, riot rape, terrorise, etc.

Government office holders are not permitted to sue any members of the public for such insults and accusations. It's their public duty to explain why the accusations are not true, not hide behind the intimidation of lawsuits using taxpayers' funds.

Many years ago, the CEO of a government department launched a lawsuit against a member of the public for saying this and that about him. He was excoriated for misusing public funded budget of his department for what was considered as his personal purpose, to protect his over sensitive skin. I have to confess I do not remember how the case ended up as, but it's a norm for public officer holders not to sue but to account/explain - that's the duty of a public servant.

Over in the West, when one offers oneself as a public figure and steps into the pubic arena, one should consider such insults (strong and aggressive or even vile criticisms) as normal fare and part of his territory.

I am aware that Malaysians of all races desire 'face' and consider insults or every lil' thing as the person being biadap and unforgivable. And I suspect some ministers think they are maharaja's and should be ampu/bodek.

It's our culture which in itself is not bad because it forces us in general to be polite, courteous and well mannered, but we needn't involve the police at every turn of the corner. 

I believe the police who seem to be ultra swift when it comes to certain insults, should focus more on crime prevention and terrorism.

1 comment:

  1. Criticising someone who has passed away may be in bad taste, but it should not be a Police Case at all. I don't see any evidence of a criminal case here.

    A Chief Minister is a Common Man, and is NOT Royalty !

    Polis Raja Di Malaysia expended significant effort and resources to find the alleged offender within 24 hours.

    By the way , Polis Raja Di Malaysia claim to have been looking for Jho Low and 3 other 1MDB conspirators for 2 years now, and still can't find any of them.

    There is a Malay proverb that if you really want to get something done, you will have a 1000 reasons , if you don't want to do it, you will have 1000 excuses.