MINISTER in the Prime Minister’s Department (Datuk Seri) Azalina Othman Said has called for stern action to be taken against civil servants, past and present, who slandered the government.
That’s simple. First the government as the victim identifies the slanderer and his or her slanderous utterance.
Then it states its demands. Usually retract the slanderous statement and apologize.
Usually the person on whom the demand is made has 14 days to respond.
If the person retracts his or her accusation and apologizes, the case is settled.
Only when he or she refuses that a legal action is constituted.
That’s how I handled such incidents when I was the editor.
But it won’t be as easy as that for the government now because much of what is being said by those brave civil servants and ex-civil servants are true.
I don’t really understand what the minister meant by stern action because many civil servants had already been sacked, terminated and transferred not for slandering the government but for telling the truth and doing the right thing.
The latest being the ex-director of the Special Operation Division of the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission, (Datuk) Bahri Mohamed Zain, who took an early retirement because he was disappointed and felt that he had sinned for not being unable to bring the SRC International Sdn Bhd case to court.
It must have bothered the conscience of scrupulous MACC officers like Bahri and those who retired under similar circumstance that while the “bilis” and the “gelama” are brought before the justice, the biggest “jerung” of all had to be let off scot-free.
Back to Azalina, was she prompted to make that remark in her Twitter Account because a picture, allegedly of her being in a casino, had been circulated in the social media during the New Year?
Is publishing this picture and discussing it in social media and coffee shops an act of libel and slander?
But why direct the anger at civil servants unless the picture was snapped and published in social media by a civil servant without her knowledge?
Of course if the picture was genuine, it wouldn’t be good for Azalina.
A Muslim, whose party’s battle cry is “untuk agama, bangsa dan negara” (for the religion, race and country), should not be seen in such a haram (forbidden) place, especially when her party is romancing the Pan-Malaysia Islamic Party and the Felda settlers in her constituency are suffering income crunch.
In reality we don’t need former civil servants or anybody to make statements that cast negative light on the government.
The government itself is better than good at casting itself in a negative light.
On the arrest by the MACC of the Secretary General to the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development for suspicion of corruption, my memory goes back to a similar incident involving another Secretary General of the same ministry.
He was acquitted and discharged after a lengthy trial.
Ironically, in both instances the minister in charge of the ministry is (Tan Sri) Annuar Musa, who is also the Umno Information Chief.