Friday, March 13, 2015

Najib’s trial by media



I remember back in 1997 when Anwar Ibrahim’s gang in Umno attacked the then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad regarding his family and friends who were alleged to have enriched themselves through their association with Seri Perdana.

The allegation of cronyism and nepotism was the rallying call at that time, which Dr Mahathir was accused of. Basically, the Prime Minister was subjected to a trial by media and sentencing in the court of public opinion.

The public, of course, swallowed everything that was being said mainly because any allegation against the powers-that-be is always seen as the truth even if the allegations are not supported by tangible evidence.

Such is the occupational hazard of being in public office. The accuser need not prove guilt but the accused needs to prove innocence, contrary to what the justice system is supposed to practice.

Anwar Ibrahim laments that he was subjected to trial by media in both the Sodomy 1 and Sodomy 2 episodes. He further laments that the attacks against him are unfair and unjust. Dr Mahathir, too, used to complain about the same thing back in the days when he was under attack.

Today, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is being given the same ‘justice’ that was given to Dr Mahathir almost 18 years ago and what Anwar complains he is being subjected to now. Why is it wrong in one situation and right in other?

Najib has already asked that a thorough investigation be conducted to get to the bottom of the controversy surrounding the 1MDB. That investigation has just commenced and it is still ongoing. Is it not better to wait for the result of this investigation before we attempt to come to any conclusion?

In the legal profession they say that justice must not only be done but must also be seen to have been done.
If this is the standard of justice that we wish to apply then it would be prudent to allow the authority that has been entrusted with this task to complete its work before we decided whether the one being investigated is proven guilty or otherwise.

Just because someone is the Prime Minister does not mean he is not entitled to the same standard of justice that any normal Malaysian would expect for himself or herself.

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