pic by BERNAMA
IT SEEMS the MACC’s (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) revelations of voice tape recordings of former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and several others, including his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, have truly caught the imagination of the Malaysian public.
A raging debate is ongoing over the wisdom in making the recordings public and the legal fraternity is having a field day in giving opinions, solicited and unsolicited, and counter opinions, again solicited and unsolicited, on it.
Which side is right is difficult to determine, given the “loudness” of the debate at this stage, it’s probably best to leave it to the court of public opinion until the dust is somewhat settled for the court of laws to decide?
Creative social media users are coming up with memes, graphics and parodies, mostly heavily-laced with sarcasm, flooding the various platforms.
One lawyer did not miss the irony of the whole episode, that it was during Najib’s administration that made amendments to the Constitution to allow such tapings to be conducted by designated government agencies.
That Najib, today becomes a “victim” of a provision that he introduced could be hauntingly painful.
However, much as those who revelled in the revelations as it further justified their disgust with Najib and those who supported him, some opinions believed there is a downside to the whole episode as it may jeopardise future intelligence gathering.
That again is something for the MACC and the government to determine.
Of interest is probably the fact that much as the trial of Najib had gone into overdrive and juicy “evidence” was shared in the court of law, the craving for more scandalous details remained unsatiated.
Actually, by any standards, the Najib affairs should have ended when he lost the general election (GE) almost 20 months ago. It would have been so in other nations.
The electoral defeat in itself is a result of the court of public opinion that he is guilty of what he was accused of and they didn’t need any court of law to determine that.
When they cast their votes against Najib and Barisan Nasional/Umno, it was a damning affirmation that they believed that Najib was guilty of what he was accused of, in this case, his involvement in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd scandal, and they decided to reject BN and Umno for backing him or not removing him for them.
Post-election, the legal proceedings initiated against Najib and others implicated in the scandal are merely in observation of the rule of law and that they were given the opportunity to defend themselves.
Except for the occasional juicy bits of evidence produced in court to raise the excitement of the gossiping public and the legal fraternity, the nation would and should have moved on and focussed on the new government and its leaders on whether it is performing up to mark and who among them were living up to expectations and observing the code of conducts.
The focus or rather the scrutiny on the new government went into full swing and it heralded a new era of democratic practices that was probably never expected before. In other words, Malaysia is on the right track to becoming a democracy that leads the region.
Instead, “reactionaries” and “opportunists” got into the picture. It’s a chicken and egg story as to who started it, but the reactionaries of the religious and racial creed believed that their grounds are being compromised. The opportunists, also of the religious and racial creed, on the other hand saw that the democratisation as an opportunity to claim more grounds.
Amid all these, Najib went through a process of rebranding and in the vacuum of the Opposition leadership, and with nothing to lose, provided a cheering board to his supporters.
It became a confounding aspect as the reactionaries and opportunists were pulled in or had decided to join in, turning the whole democratic process murky and confusing.
It had come to a point that whoever is against the government to be supportive of the kleptocrat, while those supportive of the government of being stooges of the religious and racial opportunists within.
There is, of course, those opposed to Najib that are also opposed to the government but they, too, seem too divided within the reactionaries and the opportunists’ crowd.
To a lot of degrees, such as the simplistic notion of the evaluation that seemed to shape the political debates and diatribes that the nation, that saw much promise after the last GE, is allowing itself to get trapped in revolving and endless political quagmire.
However, it need not be. A strong and credible Opposition leader could change the equation. In short, those supporting the Opposition should move on beyond Najib and his ilk. That, too, would help those unhappy with the current government to have a choice.
For that matter, supporters of the Opposition and government alike, should just move on and accept that Najib was measured, weighed and found wanting.
Shamsul Akmar is the editor of The Malaysian Reserve.