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Monday, March 30, 2015

1MDB: When politics overrides truth

By SSK


Undeniably, we need a strong opposition to keep the government in check. Any country devoid of an opposition would be a breeding ground for a dictatorship or autocracy. That is the fundamentals of a democracy. The other, of course, being that the majority decides.

This is so basic that any political philosophy student would know this.

While we need a strong opposition that can represent the dissenting voice of the people -- because in any society there will always be a dissenting voice -- it must at the same time be a responsible opposition. It must be an opposition that seeks the truth and not an opposition that criticises just for the sake of criticising, even when the government is right.

The opposition is going to extremes regarding the 1MDB issue. They have turned this into a personal crusade as a weapon to bring down the Prime Minister. The fact that certain leaders in Umno are also using this same issue to criticise the Prime Minister is giving the impression that the opposition and the ruling party are both united against the Prime Minister.

The government has already ordered an audit of 1MDB’s affairs. The police are also conducting an investigation. However, even before we are told about the outcome of these investigations, the opposition is acting like the results are already in and that the results prove wrongdoing on the part of the Prime Minister.
Is this what seeking the truth is all about? Is truth about what the opposition says is the truth?

The opposition complains about trial by media against one of its own kind. But it has no qualms about trial by media against the Prime Minister. The opposition is giving an impression that the Prime Minister is guilty so whatever the outcome of the investigation no longer matters. And if the investigation proves otherwise they will protest that the investigation is fraudulent and a cover-up.

This leaves the authorities with very little room. Either you find the Prime Minister guilty or else the investigation’s conclusion will not be accepted. The opposition has already decided that the Prime Minister is guilty and this is the only verdict they want to hear.

The role of the opposition has changed from the seeker of truth to judge, jury and executioner. And this is most unfortunate because this has subverted the role of the opposition from a counterbalance to becoming an inquisition. And we all know that in an inquisition you are considered guilty unless you can prove your innocence. And this violates the very principle of innocent until proven guilty.

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