When our moral compass goes wonky
AS we know, former prime minister Najib Razak has withdrawn his application for a RM100 million property from the Prime Minister’s Department.
This comes after social media users expressed aghast, anger and disappointment over his antics, given his financial impropriety in the recent past that has caused a huge loss of money to the nation.
There was an online petition that demanded Najib – who has been convicted of seven counts of abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering involving RM42 million in funds from SRC International Sdn Bhd – to withdraw his application.
Although people are aware that Najib, as a former prime minister, is entitled to apply for the property under Section 21 of the Members of Parliament (Remuneration) Act 1980, they feel that it is improper to “reward” a politician convicted of corruption.
Instead, the cabinet should be focus on addressing more pressing issues, such as the housing needs of the vulnerable and plight of contract doctors.
While Malaysians are bothered by the Pekan MP’s request, self-appointed moral guardians, particularly in the Muslim community, do not seem troubled by the fact that the federal government is inclined to consider the request.
This supposedly morally upright group is swift to execute moral policing on gambling and liquor sales, for example, to the extent it transgresses the social terrain normally occupied by non-Muslims.
Yet, they do not fly off the handle when, for example, political leaders find it fitting to acquire expensive official vehicles using taxpayers’ money in the face of people’s economic hardship following the economic crunch brought about by the pandemic. The vulgar contradiction is lost on them.
They would rather be preoccupied with, say, the length (or shortness) of a skirt than the widening social cleavage between the rich and poor. Social injustice is not what they are looking for.
Corruption that has, unfortunately, become part of our political culture over the years has not weighed down on the conscience of people who profess to be concerned about morality, even though corruption can inflict immense damage to the society.
Did they, for example, volunteer to join civil society initiatives such as Rasuah Busters (Corruption Busters) in a big way? On the contrary, “moral guardians” have the audacity to consider corruption – a social scourge – as being less problematic, if not kosher.
Our wonky moral compass needs readjustment if the nation is to move forward.
Justice is an important principle in our collective life, as well as Islam. Yet, there is not much concern, if any, from people who are supposedly sensitive to moral behaviour over the contention that Budget 2022 is not fair towards non-Muslim communities and Sabah and Sarawak people.
Similarly, it should be difficult to wrap your head around the fact that there are people who still revere corruptors and individuals who do harm to the well-being of the nation.
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT