HARESH SAYS: We demand action

As published in Malay Mail today

ANGRY, disturbed, frustrated.

These words sum up two major incidents that hit the headlines this past week.

First was about convicted child porn addict Nur Fitri Azmeer Nordin. The mathematics student studying at Imperial College, London, was arrested last Nov 20 for having 30,000 images and videos of child pornography. It was widely reported police had during their raid at his home near Hyde Park, found him next to his laptop, sitting beside a life­-sized mannequin.

Some insist Nur Fitri should be given a second chance. One particular person even likened the Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara)­funded student to “a child who played truant” and should be given a “second chance”.

The public played judge, jury and executioner as this is a despicable act. One important factor that slipped the thoughts of many was the need for a sex offender registry.

On May 8, Malay Mail reported Suara Rintihan Kanak-­Kanak (Suriana) chairman James Nayagam attended a series of meetings in 1995 where the registry was on the agenda.

Various stakeholders attended, including police, Welfare Department and the Attorney-General’s Chambers. It was part of the drafting of the Child Bill following the signing of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1994.

“We all agreed these were best practices, but there was no implementation,” he told Malay Mail.
Today, the subject of a sex offender registry has re­emerged. Are we going to ignore it yet again only for the subject to resurface in the next decade or two? 

So yes, many are angry, disturbed, frustrated and find it sickening we are all talk but no action. We make statements only to please the masses momentarily, to pacify any form of uneasiness or tension but quickly forget the issue at hand the moment something else crops up.

The same can be said about the land deal between 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and Lembaga Tabung Haji. The pilgrimage fund board denied the purchase of a plot of land at Tun Razak Exchange was to bail out the controversial and debt­-ridden 1MDB – supposedly the government’s investment arm.

On Saturday, Tabung Haji announced it would sell the land, insisting it would generate at least RM5 million in profit. But many are unimpressed.

Coffee shops are abuzz about alleged 1MDB controversies and it is worse on social media. Some politicians have even jumped on the bandwagon and hope it will translate into popular votes.
The deal even irked pop star Datuk Siti Nurhaliza Tarudin, who on Twitter, described the fiasco as “shameful”. That says a lot.

Once again, many of us are merely looking at the land transaction but not beyond. 
Where are the elements of transparency and accountability?

The millions in Tabung Haji belong to the contributors. They have every right to know how their money is spent.

Reports have been lodged but the disturbing fact is the eagerness to hunt down those who leaked the story.

Defenders are quick to say overpriced deals happened in the past. Shouldn’t they be investigated and made accountable too?

The easy way out is to politicise the issue.

And what about 1MDB?

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low had in his keynote address during The Power of Leadership talk in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, said the foundation of leadership is about good attitude and the willingness to face challenges.

“A good leader must have a high degree of trust and to build trust, everyone must first have his integrity, walk the talk, be accountable and not be a self­-centred leader,” he said.
Hours after the speech, Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak and his two sons were sentenced to three years in prison after being found guilty of embezzling millions of dollars worth of state funds over a decade.

Even in a crisis-laden nation like Egypt, leaders and politicians are held accountable. The authorities there walk the talk.

Our politicians must realise the people are angry, disturbed and frustrated. Go ask your fellow leaders, especially those at the grassroots and who adore basking in the limelight in Twitterjaya, and they, too, will say the same.

It is never easy to govern and please everyone. Decisions must be made for the betterment of our communities.

Words and promises alone are not sufficient to protect the interest of the people.

We demand action.

HARESH is executive editor of Malay Mail. He can be reached at haresh@mmail.com.my or on Twitter @HareshDeol


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