Enough! Let’s put a stop to gutter politics

We must not give the time of day to gutter politics by totally ignoring such news all together. It is high time that we reclaim decency as the key value in our politics, says Christopher Chong.

Former Malacca chief minister Rahim Tamby Chik (above), businessman Shazryl Eskay Abdullah and Perkasa treasurer Shuib Lazim were the trio behind the screening of the video, it was revealed today - Photo credit: mingguanmindaniaga.blogspot.com

It seems that Malaysian politics is taking after the gossip, scandals and sexual exploits that are highlighted in our tabloid. Gossip, sex and scandals may help to sell the tabloids but when mudslinging becomes the order of the day in our national politics, then it is time to seriously consider the implications of such actions. By now, you would have heard about the news about the video recordings of the bedroom antics of someone who is allegedly a prominent politician.

More disturbingly, recent years have witnessed a spate of such incidents which point towards the emergence of gutter politics. What is worrying about this trend is that it distracts us from the real business of politics. Politics, as my professor in political science 101 said, is about who gets what, when and how. To gain power, my professor continued, politicians must compete amongst themselves by presenting their principles and policies to the public in order to gain support.

Therefore, the rule of the game requires that political engagement takes the form of presenting one’s position on key issues and pointing out the weaknesses of the opposition’s position. Public support is based on the reasonableness of the principles and policies presented. Politics is supposed to be the noble art of governing by principles.

Yet, we are now witnessing certain quarters engaging in underhanded tactics designed to undermine public confidence on a select group of politicians. In so doing, they are dragging politics into the gutter for whatever gains they hope to achieve. In the long run, such tactics can only serve to alienate people from the real business of politics by turning it into a site for mudslinging rather than a space for coming up with policies and solutions to the real problems faced by ordinary Malaysians.

We must act now to prevent gutter politics from becoming the norm in our political practice. Indeed, we must reject political engagement that seeks to focus our attention on the perceived moral failings of certain politicians. Instead we should be focusing on vital public issues such as poverty and gender discrimination.

More importantly, we must not give the time of day to gutter politics by totally ignoring such news all together. It is high time that we reclaim decency as the key value in our politics.

Dr Christopher Chong is an Aliran member.

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Robert Rantai
30 Mar 2011 9.57pm

The killing of altantuya by 2 young polics men don’t need a great detective Sherlock Holme to analysis. They have no reason to kill her in way it was done. Boombed to pieces. It is (alleged) revenged killing . it is … work of … who else?

Mat Cendana
27 Mar 2011 10.58pm

Why are the Pakatan Rakyat people calling for this `Enough’ now? [most would indignantly claim that they aren’t Pakatan supporters but `neutral’. Yeah, right]

Did they (Pakatan suporters and the `neutral’ poseurs) come up with this call when Najib was accused to be involved with Altantuya? Nope – they gleefully jumped on the bandwagon, blithely accepting it as the truth just because it was a blow against the BN (and Umno particularly). They even came up with a fake photo of Najib being with Altantuya… spreading it around as proof. And when it was clear that it wan’t genuine, there was nary an acknowledgement; much less apology for the dastardly act.

So why this `Enough’ call now? Is it because you are so afraid that the video clip is genuine, in that the person involved is really that person who is also facing a case concerning what had happened to a coffeeboy? Get off the high horse and stop being such hipocrates.

28 Mar 2011 6.43pm
Reply to  Mat Cendana

I’m probably just wasting my time with this reply but here goes… What is wrong with your argument is that it flies in the face of facts. (The) Altantuya (links are) well established…. Najib was the Defence Minister at the time of the incident that involved really big money in defence purchases. His guards were the ones who (are accused of) the murder. His good friend Razak Baginda was the one initially charged. Perhaps I need not mention the SD signed by Raja Petra who reported what he got from someone in the know… In the case of the video, aside from the bizzare fact the Datuk trio were not arrested, you find three persons…: Rahim the former CM who was involved in a (controversial saga) … The other person was involved in the failed crooked bridge and the third is a Perkasa member. A red flag is immediately raised! How anyone can accept anything reliable from (Rahim)… But you can believe the close friends of such a person will have the same character. So who should get off the high horse now? Common sense will… Read more »

24 Mar 2011 1.32am

Lets tell it like it is – UMNO/BN plays gutter politics. Don’t give the time of day to gutter politics and to UMNO/BN.