Futile to talk about double standards


What is there to argue about on whether Lim Guan Eng should resign, take a leave of absence or continue doing his job as the chief minister of Penang?

To me there is really no answer to this argument. The choice really depends on which side of the political divide the individual in question is on – whether he is a supporter or adversary. This is what partisan politics has done to most of us. We have become blind and adamant in our struggle, regardless of the rights and wrongs involved.

This is the nature of our “legal system” – we cannot argue why someone is charged while others are not, even though they may have committed similar or even graver offences. We cannot argue why a person is charged even though the evidence is flimsy or probably ridiculous while others are let go even though the proof is substantial.

The system says the power to prosecute is discretionary. When it is discretionary, it could also mean arbitrary or selective. Seriously, which parts of these predicaments are we Malaysians still unable to understand?

The next issue is the risks politicians face each day. Again, let’s be honest with ourselves. It is never easy to be an Opposition politician in this country or in any third world country for that matter. One must be squeaky clean and not to indulge in whatever indiscretions – personal or official. Again, I expect Opposition politicians to understand this.

Why then are we still talking about double standards, selective prosecution, or ridiculous or trumped-up charges? Are these not what most Opposition politicians are expected to face?

But there is still hope left. First, Opposition politicians should try their level best not to provide a beachhead for others to attack/prosecute them. It is not easy, but they should try. To be free from blemishes is not an option but an obligation. Yes, it is a “double standard” i.e. Opposition politicians have to set the bar higher.

Second, if indeed some are unfortunate enough to be charged, there is no need to resign or to take a leave of absence. There is nothing to be ashamed of. They should salvage every minute of the positions they hold and try to do the best they can.

Any Malaysian with some sense of fair play, justice and morality in their hearts would understand perfectly why Lim does not have to resign or take a leave of absence. Only the bigots, the self-righteous, the self-conceited, and the hypocrites would suggest he does. I think the people have accepted a long time ago that there is no absolute principle, or shred of ethics and morality left in this country. Most are willing to accept the “the lesser of two evils.”

TK Chua is an FMT reader.

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