When enough is enough

 |Jun 24, 2017

OPINION

The scary thing about public perception is that they have a way of taking over logic and passed off as the truth. Regardless of whether it is based on facts or distortion of facts or lies, those who refuse to be rational will eat it up and pass it on.

For the longest time, attacks on Prime Minister Najib Razak have also extended to his wife Rosmah Mansor. Various stories have been passed around, circulated on social media and blogs, often without solid evidence to indicate that the stories were based on facts. However evidence in Malaysia, appears to be subjected to a case of double standard.

If the Opposition gets accused of wrongdoing, more often than not, many ask for evidence. When the government is accused of something, it doesn’t matter if there is evidence or not because an accusation, apparently, is sufficient for the public who often enjoy playing the roles of ‘judge, jury and executioner’.

Before accusations of macai or makan dedak are hurled at this article, perhaps it deserves a mention that this opinion piece is in no way claiming that the government can do no wrong. If a wrongdoing has in fact been committed, with proper evidence, those who are guilty must pay the price in accordance with the provisions of this country’s laws.

The problem, however, lies in the mere fact that our society appears to have lost the ability to think rationally when it comes to pointing fingers and making accusations. Perhaps it is because social media has made it easy for everyone to have a say.

Freedom of speech is a good thing but it must be remembered that with such freedom, it is also imperative for society to be able to differentiate between wisdom and noise. Just because everyone has the right to speak does not translate to everyone saying the right thing. The thing about freedom of speech is that it also allows for stupidity to have a voice. Such is the beauty of freedom. It is not a one-way street.

Going back to the barrage of criticism levelled at the Prime Minister’s wife, it serves as an indication that with technology, we have opted for regression instead of progress.

While the general act of criticising is fine, we seem to ignore constructive criticism. Due to the fact that it is so much easier for us to express our thoughts in this day and age, we often pay no heed to what we say, or in this case, type.

Personal attacks are made online without so much as a care in the world. More often than not, people opt for personal attacks when they have nothing concrete to say but still feel the need to say something.

For the longest time, it would appear that the Prime Minister’s wife opted to remain quiet when it comes to the personal attacks she receives on social media. However, recently, a statement from her lawfirm indicates that Rosmah has had enough.

In a strongly worded media statement, a lawyer acting on behalf of Rosmah warned the public against making allegations without any proof or basis.

The statement also served as a notice at large to those who produce any false, malicious publications and postings in any form against Rosmah, that they can face legal action without any further notice or references.

The crux of the issue here is not one where Rosmah is going after anyone who badmouths her simply because of her position as the Prime Minister’s wife. Naturally, that is what public perception will dictate. What many fail to see is that anyone, no matter who you are, is well within their rights to initiate legal action against those who tarnish their reputation by making false allegations.

This is something many refuse to see. The public believe that because they pay taxes and because the government is supposed to serve the people, this gives them, the public, the right to make false allegations and accusations as well as personal attacks.

If there is any truth to the allegations, then the right channels must be employed in order for justice to be served. Making personal attacks as well as accusations without solid evidence only serve to tarnish a person’s reputation.

We must realise that social media is not an outlet for us to engage in personal attacks or make malicious remarks about other people. If there is a need to criticise, do it constructively. If there is a need to be sarcastic or funny or even out of anger, there is always a way to do it without resorting to nonsensical personal attacks.