UP­HOLD OUR SOVEREIGNTY

Whether it is North Korea or the op­po­si­tion, the rule of law must be re­spected

New Straits Times - - Viewpoint -

ON Feb 23, Umno Youth, Barisan Na­sional Youth and sev­eral youth non­govern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions sent a note of protest to the em­bassy of the Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Korea.

We de­manded that Malaysia, as a re­sult of the North Korean em­bassy’s be­hav­iour and at­ti­tude to­wards the probe con­cern­ing a de­ceased in­di­vid­ual at klia2, re­visit its bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship with North Korea and re­voke its visafree agree­ment with Py­ongyang.

Re­peat­edly, the em­bassy, up to the day be­fore the hand­ing of the note, had been is­su­ing press re­leases where they told Malaysian police how the in­ves­ti­ga­tion should be con­ducted.

More­over, they also made con­clu­sions about the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, seem­ingly by­pass­ing Malaysian in­ves­ti­ga­tors. Specif­i­cally, they lashed out at Malaysia and claimed that the ev­i­dence gath­ered was in­ad­e­quate for the even­tual ar­rest of two women and one North Korean, Ri Jong-chol.

The em­bassy claimed that Malaysia was be­ing in­flu­enced by for­eign me­dia and South Korea. They con­cluded that the vic­tim could not have pos­si­bly been killed by poi­son be­cause the sus­pects who wiped the poi­son on the vic­tim’s face should have died as well.

A week af­ter the hand­ing of the note, Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Dr Ah­mad Zahid Hamidi an­nounced that Malaysia would cease to al­low North Kore­ans visa-free travel into Malaysia ef­fec­tive to­mor­row.

When a high-level del­e­ga­tion from North Korea, led by for­mer North Korean deputy am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions Ri Tong-il, ar­rived in Malaysia to dis­cuss a num­ber of is­sues with Malaysian gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, they sought not to ease ten­sions, but rather to con­tinue de­mand­ing that Malaysian in­ves­ti­ga­tors ad­mit that Kim Jong-nam died of a heart at­tack.

When the sovereignty of our coun­try is be­ing un­der­mined, Malaysia acts swiftly, pre­cisely and fast. When the sovereignty of our coun­try is be­ing un­der­pinned, you don’t need some­one who can wig­gle his way around rhetoric into an ar­gu­ment; quick ac­tion sends the strong­est mes­sage.

Malaysia, driven by the Barisan Na­sional rul­ing coali­tion, has al­ways pro­tected our na­tional in­sti­tu­tions. Not long ago, I wrote about the val­ues of our in­sti­tu­tions in main­tain­ing this coun­try’s sta­bil­ity.

I crit­i­cised and warned about the so-called “Save Malaysia” move­ment, spurred by the so called “Cit­i­zens’ Dec­la­ra­tion” started by for­mer prime min­is­ter Tun Dr Ma­hathir Mo­hamad. Dr Ma­hathir, along­side op­po­si­tion lead­ers, said at a press con­fer­ence that the op­po­si­tion had been re­ju­ve­nated with a com­mon pur­pose of tak­ing down Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak.

My ar­gu­ment then — as it is still to­day — against this “move­ment” is that it pro­motes a harm­ful men­tal­ity among youth and the be­lief that democracy is a process where you get every­thing you want through col­lec­tive de­nial of the in­sti­tu­tions that hold our coun­try safe. Elec­tions in Malaysia are an in­sti­tu­tion.

The police in Malaysia are also an in­sti­tu­tion. The very idea that you must con­cede vic­tory to the win­ning coali­tion af­ter elec­tions is it­self — al­beit ig­nored by the op­po­si­tion — an in­sti­tu­tion.

These con­cepts main­tain nor­mal­ity and are pro­cesses that safe­guard Malaysia from anar­chy. And when some­thing like the so-called “Save Malaysia” move­ment, or when an em­bassy calls to by­pass these in­sti­tu­tions and make con­clu­sions of their own, then Malaysia’s fu­ture gets rat­tled into un­cer­tainty.

There should be no com­pro­mise on our rule of law. There should be no com­pro­mise on our sovereignty. Even if it causes sev­er­ance of diplo­matic re­la­tions with North Korea, our in­sti­tu­tions should not be over­looked be­cause of a for­eign agenda.

The things that get said, like the em­bassy claim­ing that Kim Jong-nam died of a heart at­tack, or that Na­jib is the sole rea­son for all of Malaysia’s flaws, may com­fort the emo­tions of some. In the short term, if we agree with these nar­ra­tives, they make our most ab­surd rea­son­ing feel jus­ti­fied.

But for the fu­ture, these ag­gres­sive and il­log­i­cal con­clu­sions pro­vide our so­ci­ety with a rhetoric that will only lead to di­vi­sion in our com­mu­ni­ties. They make us un­able to lis­ten to one an­other, sus­pi­cious of those that don’t agree with us and make us emo­tional rather than log­i­cal.

And, when we be­come overly emo­tional, we tend to over­look rea­son­ing. This is ev­i­dent in the ab­surd con­clu­sions made by the North Korean em­bassy. But more fright­en­ingly, the ab­sur­dity is shared by the op­po­si­tion. So caught up in their hate of the prime min­is­ter, they fail to ask them­selves cru­cial ques­tions.

Re­peat­edly, they say their sole rea­son for stick­ing to­gether as an op­po­si­tion pact is to bring down Na­jib. So, what hap­pens if they suc­ceed? What if they achieve that goal? What next? Will the di­vas and ego­ists that make up the op­po­si­tion lead­er­ship still work to­gether? Or will they fight among each other for the top spot?

Op­po­si­tion sup­port­ers need to ask their lead­ers these cru­cial ques­tions be­cause the lead­er­ship of our coun­try should not be held by those with short-term goals. Their em­i­nent in­ter­nal bick­er­ing, if the op­po­si­tion is to suc­ceed, puts the sta­bil­ity of our coun­try at risk. It puts the val­ues of our in­sti­tu­tions at risk. ka­harun76@gmail.com The writer is Umno Youth vice-chief and Umno Supreme Coun­cil mem­ber

But for the fu­ture, these ag­gres­sive and il­log­i­cal con­clu­sions pro­vide our so­ci­ety with a rhetoric that will only lead to di­vi­sion in our com­mu­ni­ties. They make us un­able to lis­ten to one an­other, sus­pi­cious of those that don’t agree with us and make us emo­tional rather than log­i­cal.

Kim Jong-nam

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