Is the truth worth getting out of your comfort zone for?
Malaysians have been indoctrinated with a fear of standing up for what’s right. Even in the face of glaring injustice, Malaysians do not care enough to do something (like, really do something). Most Malaysians will complain and grumble, but ultimately will allow themselves to be subservient to those in positions of authority.
Even worse, some will even criticise those who are trying to do something.
“Eh, now that The Edge has admitted that they tricked Justo by offering him a bribe, I’m not sure whether their reports are reliable…” — so echo self-righteous Malaysians from their ethical high-horses. More on that later.
Let’s not lose sight of the issue here, which is that there is a significant amount of evidence (enough to prompt formal investigations, arrests, and the freezing of bank accounts in several countries) that there has been a scam to cheat Malaysians of billions of Ringgit. Billions.
Some glaring points which we seem to need reminding of:
1. There has been no evidence of inaccuracy in what The Edge has published.
Anyone who has read even a handful of the hundreds of articles in The Edge Weekly and Financial Daily in relation to 1MDB will know that the reporting is always very factual, professional in tone, and always asks questions in a direct and succinct manner. Almost none of these questions have ever been answered. There has never been even a hint of a movement to topple the government or create unrest. The articles are always a justifiable request for answers in the face of a huge scandal.
Neither 1MDB, the Prime Minister, nor anyone else related to the scandal have directly refuted and disproved anything which The Edge has reported in any of its articles.
2. Our Prime Minister has more or less disappeared.
Do we even have a Prime Minister? Since the last elections, he seems to be some sort of wax statue, wheeled out from time-to-time to officiate events or give speeches which say a lot while saying nothing at all. Forget leadership, he struggles to even provide presence.
In what other country/government can a Prime Minister simply ignore all the allegations against him (from various sources), and not be held accountable? Malaysians (yes, that includes you) seem generally happy enough to let him be, give or take the occasional angry tweet about it.
3. Our other Ministers and government leaders are not doing much either.
The rest of our Ministers and government leaders are showing themselves to be scandalously incompetent.
At at time when Malaysia is crying out for true leaders, our Ministers and UMNO-BN politicians are displaying their absolute lack of leadership. They should be demanding a quick and independent investigation to be carried out, and action to be taken swiftly. Instead, we get the usual weak “investigations are underway, wait for the official findings to be announced” excuse being repeated on end.
We deserve more from our leaders like Khairy Jamaluddin and his carefully-managed brand, and others who claim to be a “new generation” of leaders. Where is Idris Jala? These are two who have been making bold proclamations of progressiveness in the past and are always happy to provide a quotable quote or sound-bite. With a potential scandal of this magnitude, shouldn’t they be doing more?
But at least silence is better than the constant bleating of Abdul Rahman Dahlan, who is either really obtuse or pretending to be (he’s probably a close second to Gelakan’s Tan Keng Liang in this respect).
When the dust has settled and the truth behind 1MDB has come out, our Ministers and government leaders should not be allowed to forget that they did not show any leadership in resolving the matter (yes, even if they agree to be the VVIP at your event and take nice selfies).
4. Where’s the rest of the media?
Other than The Edge’s various publications, which other media channel can claim to be carrying out their journalistic duties in uncovering the truth about 1MDB? I’m not expecting them to publish accusations or exposes — how about asking hard questions?
The truth is out there; journalists are expected to make a little bit of effort to find out what the truth is, and report it. I’m sure The Edge appreciates all the press releases and articles criticising their suspension for their reporting related to 1MDB, but I’m sure they’d appreciate it even more if the other media wrote even more about 1MDB, instead of staying silent in fear of being suspended themselves.
Malaysians want the truth. But how much do we want it?
I’m disappointed that, for some reason, our Ministers and UMNO-BN leaders do not seem desperate to find out the truth, whatever it is.
I’m disappointed that most Malaysians don’t really seem bothered enough to do something about it, other than complaining.
I’m even more disappointed that some Malaysians are standing in the way of those who are trying to uncover the truth.
It reminds me of Bersih in 2012, when Malaysians were quite brutally attacked by our own police force, and some said: “Eh, but some fellas breached the barrier at Dataran first right?“. And this kind of meandering self-righteousness is surfacing again with the admission by The Edge that they tricked Justo to get the information. If you are uncomfortable with a little bit of civil disobedience, and happily lose sight of the real issues every other day, please stop saying that you’re desperate for justice or the truth.
Malaysians may feel powerless right now. We’re angry and confused and there seems nothing we can do about it. Go and find something to do. Don’t be so easily distracted by insignificant issues. Yes, I understand that not everyone can do something, in which case, stand aside and offer continuous support for those who are trying to do what’s right. Do what you can to spread awareness of the issues, and share the information which is being published. Conditions in Malaysia due to decades of poor leadership (indoctrinated subservience, and lack of unity in society) means that a united front is unlikely to be achieved — even this article will expectedly be preaching to the converted, as it will only be read by certain sections of society. But we must do what we can with the tools and opportunities available to us.
Whatever it is, don’t be the kind of Do-Nothing which Saul Alinsky wrote about:
These Do-Nothings profess a commitment to social change for ideals of justice, equality, and opportunity, and then abstain from and discourage all effective action for change. They are known by their brand, “I agree with your ends but not your means.” […]
These Do-Nothings appear publicly as good men, humanitarian, concerned with justice and dignity. In practice they are invidious. They are the ones Edmund Burke referred to when he said, acidly: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
I’m not saying that there is a scam involving 1MDB to cheat Malaysians of billions of Ringgit. I don’t know. But there have been so many reports and accusations going around, we surely need to know the truth.
We deserve to know the truth. We’re all in this together, and despite the seeming lack of true leaders, I hope we find the unity and courage to bring the truth to light.