Trust deficit? No, really?



Trust deficit? No, really?
By Zan Azlee

I think all the talk about a trust deficit when it comes to the Malaysian government needs to stop. The reason is simple. Everybody knows it. Stating it over and over again is not going to solve anything.

I would like to point to a recent statement made by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Datuk Paul Low. He said that all the criticism being dished out towards the newly passed National Security Council (NSC) Bill was because of a trust deficit towards Putrajaya.

Well, no shucks Sherlock!

He goes on to say that Malaysians need not worry about the NSC Bill being abused and used against politicians, government detractors or dissidents. It is intended to be used on terrorists.

And he stopped right about there. He did not mention anything about how the government would go about trying to eliminate, or at least reduce, the trust deficit that they have earned. Or how they earned it in the first place.

Maybe Low is not aware of how so many laws have been abused by the authorities such as the Internal Security Act, The Security Offences (Special Measures) Act and Prevention of Terrorism Act, where so many people who criticise the government are considered national threats and they get detained.

All these laws too were said to only be intended to be used to protect national security. Then how come so many of those who have been detained consisted of people who have questioned elected leaders. Even journalists have been detained.

Individuals who raised questions about suspected government corruption were detained, like Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan. Heck, even his lawyer, Matthias Chang, who went to visit him in detention got detained.

We have had top news editors and journalists from leading news organisations being detained for their news reporting. And they are suppose to be the fourth estate that has a responsibility to uphold democracy.

Here is an even better idea. How about defining these laws clearly so that it will be impossible, or at least extremely difficult, to abuse? As it is, the NSC Bill is so vague in its definition of what or who is considered a threat.

The bill also gives the prime minister an obscene amount of power and control. For a government that already realises that it has a trust deficit problem, will this then be a good idea? Are they hoping this bill be received with joy and praise?

They cannot be that naive, right? Or maybe they are doing this because they are not naive. If so, then that is really scary because they will actually be doing it intentionally and it has been happening within the past three years alone.

I want to say that Malaysia is fast becoming a authoritarian and big brother state. But that will be naive. This has been happening for decades and what is going on now is just a culmination of everything that has been put in place.

[This article originally appeared at The Malaysian Insider]

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