The Conspiracy of Silence

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How is it that a nation that will soon be celebrating its 60th anniversary of Independence can be in its present state of affairs for so long? The prestige and respect of the nation has taken a very serious dent with the continuing 1MDB affair. While there are Malaysians who are crying out for justice and accountability, it all seems to fall on deaf ears.

We must in one sense be grateful for this shows us, as nothing else can, the fashion and decoration that exhibits the status of our democracy. ‘kleptocracy’ is an apt description. Yet for a nation that is so sensitive to the use of the term ‘allah’, that exhibits the need for ‘halal’ in more ways than one the key question remains ‘Where is the moral compass of those in power and position?’

Obviously while the ‘Rukunegara’, the national ideology speaks about ‘Belief in God’ as its first pillar one is apt to say commenting on all that is happening that this has to be amended to ‘Belief in Money’. This seems to be the singular driving force that keeps the ruling party in power. From the days of Mahathir money power has been a scourge. The current PM has taken the whole issue of money power to new heights worthy of an entry into the ‘Guinness Book of Records’.

Money seems to be the solvent for all issues in this nation. The Civil Service is silent as is also the Armed Forces, the Judiciary, the Executive and the Legislature. When one looks at the scale at which money has been laundered so many institutions have been plundered into silence.

Why are so many educated and well trained individuals keeping silent? UMNO stalwarts are themselves active only in the periphery.  At least one actor who has been part of the beginnings of such deals now seems to have seen the light. At least he is speaking up and expressing his convictions.

Those at the heart of this scandal continue to live their lives exhibiting unashamed greed and lavishness. Too many, perhaps, have taken money from him that they do not have the moral courage and spine to take a stand. They are people of all faiths and you find them in the whole BN spectrum and in the Cabinet. The crisis is so serious yet silence seems to be the best option for those in the establishment. Why?

Those who know rather keep silent for their future promotions, appointments with GLC’s and titles could all be affected. So the conspiracy of silence continues. Even a religiously motivated party like PAS is infected and hence their glaring silence. What is the use of faith devoid of values and a moral compass? It loses its dynamic and what is left is a whole array of beliefs worthy only of exhibition. When the focus in not on the individual than it is better to champion a religious cause that exhibits mere religiosity.

Then the focus suddenly turns on the Forex scam years ago. Why suddenly has this been resurrected? The many actors yet remain and it will show the same weaknesses that continue to infect our regulatory systems – the lack of courageous leadership. This continues till today be it Bank Negara, the Parliamentary Accounts Committee, the AG’s Office or the office of the IGP.

The glaring lack of leadership within the establishment is a sign of the infection that has spread. Money has bought silence. Take a stand and your filth will be exposed. Where are the people with clean hands? The continuing response from the cronies to defend the indefensible stinks but so many tolerate this stench.

How can you have a Minister for Integrity and accommodate such filth? There must be something terribly wrong. Is it money, position, loyalty, power or pension that keeps an individual in such a compromised environment? Just like the forex scan of earlier years there will come a day when this also will be investigated.

When this happens there will be many who will be discredited. The time to stand up and be counted is now. There is nothing more valuable that one’s integrity. Where are the Malaysians who will put their country before themselves from amongst the Executive, the Legislature, the Judiciary and the other Institutions of Governance? Where is our ‘Cabinet of Conscience?’

One had great hopes in Permandu, Permudah, the Institute of Integrity Malaysia, the MACC and the Office of the Auditor General. Now that we are able to glean from Sarawak Report issues claimed to have been raised by the Auditor General one can well understand why this is kept under wraps using the Official Secrets Act.

In this age of technology and digital communications, the facts can be traced back and duly substantiated. One is just amazed to read about the huge amount paid to a lawyer who was appointed prosecutor in the Anwar Ibrahim trial. To paint the picture that he did this as official service and took pittance for the same is to lie to the public in the same fashion that we were sold a lie that a donation was given by a Saudi Royalty. Lies, lies and lies by people who believe another ‘umrah’ would cleanse them.

Money power seems to be the solvent that bends spines, that purchases souls and the conscience of many who should otherwise stand up in the interest of the nation. Well with billions to give out it seems to be only a matter of price. We have a crony MIC leader who acknowledges that this money was received for BN. We have reached as stage in the revelations by DOJ and the Sarawak Report that shows that these are embezzled funds.

What is even more alarming is that the first couple continues with their lifestyles unaffected by any sense of shame or conscience. Where have we reached as a nation, as a people when such things can happen here in Malaysia? Daily newspaper reports by respected media  globally continues to hurt  the credibility of the nation. The day of reckoning will come and it is a matter of time. How long before justice is restored into the heart of this nation?

We do not need an external enemy as we have a whole bunch of cronies who just look but do not see, people who are most interested in what they can squeeze from this situation. Many who have sold their souls, their conscience and have rationalised that they can do little but persevere with the status quo.

These are times when patriotism and love for nation and the constitution should take precedence. Mere faith and good intentions are not adequate. There must be a critical mass of individuals who will call a spade a space. There is a price to be paid and just letting things go as they are will not be an option for progress.

Unbridled greed, materialism and self- interest keeps many from speaking out and taking a stand. This is the time to clarify our own convictions and what we stand for and the non-negotiable content of our character. In the final analysis those who remain a part of this ‘conspiracy of silence’ convict themselves for they have failed to stand up when the nation needed their ‘guts’.

When those in power, position and privilege from the Royalty down to the common man fail to take a stand than our common failure adds to the continued exploitation and misuse of power. We eventually legitimise the actions of  crooks by our silence.

K. Haridas