The Litmus of The Sandakan Video

The Litmus of The Sandakan Video

WHEN you are a writer and are as old as I am, you carry with you the benefit of knowledge and the baggage of history.

You can choose to be arrogant and reckless because you know other people’s skeletons or be humbled by the fact that you are yourself a human being.

It was the latter that discourages me from commenting on the Sandakan video.

Quite a number of people asked about my silence. One even posted in the Facebook, questioning my silence and that of fellow commentator, Tamrin Abdul Ghafar.

Less than a week ago, a very senior member of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) leadership, who represents the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), also commented on my silence.

I told him that I had been badly burnt for taking position on a similar incident a very long time ago – 1997-98 to be precise.

My reputation as a journalist and editor was put into question and the newspapers I edited suffered.

Although I no longer have a newspaper – not since I resigned as Group Editor-in-Chief of the New Straits Times Press (NSTP) in 2000 – a fair number of readers still pay some attention to my comments.

For that reason I feel that I should not abrogate my responsibility. As such I continue to take position on matters of national interest.

The following is my stand and my views on the Sandakan video:

  1. It is a test to the promise of the PH government to be open, transparent and accountable;
  2. It is a test to the professionalism, independence and impartiality of the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) under the leadership of the new Inspector General, Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador;
  3. It is a test to the promise of PH to respect the rule of law and uphold the Constitution;
  4. It is a test to the ability of the PH leadership to stay above the fray and to put the interest of the country above personal likes and dislikes;
  5. It is a test to the humanity, humility, morality and dignity of PH leaders collectively and individually.
  6. The question that every PH leader must ask is, do I use my party and my government position to shield me from my wrongdoing or I shield my party and my government from shame by doing the right thing?

The news from far far away lands: Last year, the UK Small Business Minister, Andrew Griffiths, resigned over the expose that he sent sexual messages to female constituents. That’s all.

In India, also last year, the Junior Foreign Minister, Mobashar Jawed Akbar, resigned despite not doing anything wrong. He stepped down simply because he is embroiled in a defamation suit against a journalist.

Over in Canada, Economic Development Minister for the state of Ontario, Jim Wilson, resigned (also last year) over sexual misconduct allegations.

Of course I could never forget the Prufomo Affair when the British Secretary of State (Junior Minister) for War, Lord John Dennis Prufumo, was sacked and later jailed for having an affair with a call girl, the beautiful Christine Keeler.

He was jailed not because he slept with Keeler but because in doing so he jeopardised the security of the UK because she was a girlfriend to a UK-based Soviet spy. It was my favourite Utusan Melayu report for many months.

By A Kadir Jasin

The writer is the media advisor to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who wrote this article a month ago on his blog, The Scribe.

The police have since exonerated the senior PKR leader from allegations that he was involved in the video.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of The Leaders Online

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