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Sexual morality, threats and crises

IN the week between 16 and 22 Feb 2009, the Chinese media focused on the developing story behind the intimate pictures of Selangor executive councillor (exco) and Bukit Lanjan assemblyperson Elizabeth Wong, and also commented on the death threats against DAP leaders and the ongoing constitutional crisis in Perak.

(Jason Antony /
Sexual morality

Wong has been receiving tremendous support from the Chinese Malaysian community despite her decision to relinquish her position as state exco and elected representative. On 20 Feb, an article by Por Heong Hong in the Chinese edition of Malaysiakini looked at the issue as a Tribal act of slaughtering modern democracy.

Por wrote: “While defending politicians’ right to privacy and arguing that political struggle should not include a violation of privacy, most of Wong’s supporters look at (MCA deputy president) Datuk Seri Chua Soi Lek’s extramarital affairs as immoral.

“But they regard Wong’s intimate conduct as the expression of a single woman’s sexuality. Contrary to the view of Chua’s affair, Wong is being seen as ‘the unfortunate woman’ who was ‘betrayed by a dishonest man’.”

Por said projecting Wong as the “unfortunate victim” not only added to Wong’s burden but also increased the burden on women’s sexuality, thus restricting discussions on the free will one has over her body.

“If Wong were an unwed mother like French Justice Minister Rachida Dati or a lesbian like Australian Minister of Climate Change Penny Wong, would those who defend politicians’ privacy be willing to stand up for Wong against a public trial?” Por asked.

“Although Malaysia has had a modern democratic system since independence, the media and public have an archaic mentality and attitude. Both media and the public are working together in restricting individual sexuality, acting tribally against the free will of the body.

“This tribal act pays intense attention on leaders’ sexual morality but lacks reflection on corruption and power abuse. This shortcoming will eventually result in the dependence on political ‘saints’ to fix corruption and abuse. But these ‘saints’ will be a phony embodiment of the public perception of leaders,” Por concluded.

Death threats

On 21 Feb, Guang Ming Daily‘s editorial, titled Preventing maladies of threats, responded to news that DAP chairperson Karpal Singh was receiving death threats purportedly for questioning Sultan Azlan Shah’s decision in the Perak political crisis.

The daily said, “We have sufficient laws to take actions against offenders. If Karpal’s statements violated the law, we should allow the police to investigate and bring Karpal to court, not threaten him with bullets.

“Such a threat is no different from the act of a hoodlum. It is a serious offence. We should never resort to violence no matter how noble we may be, because resorting to violence means taking the law into our own hands.”

(Kriss Szkurlatowski /
Guang Ming stressed: “We are a society governed by law; death threats only disrupt the rule of law and public peace. Therefore, any dissatisfaction should be resolved through law. Throwing death threats from a hidden corner is definitely not Malaysian culture.”

Is Pakatan Rakyat ready?

On the constitutional crisis in Perak, an analysis by new online news portal titled Perak tussle: Barisan Nasional is fearless, how could Pakatan Rakyat let their guard down? reminded readers about the differences in strength between the two coalitions. wrote: “BN (Barisan Nasional) Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir was reported as saying that even though Perak state assembly speaker V Sivakumar has suspended him and his exco, he would still attend the state assembly. Suspension did not deter Zambry. In other words, Zambry was fearless.

“At the surface, it seems that the Pakatan Rakyat has gained an advantage by suspending the BN state reps. But in actual fact, the BN, which holds the reins of public machineries, is still very much in control.

“Although the Pakatan Rakyat used the power of the speaker by suspending the BN lawmakers, it would be difficult for the suspension to yield results as it lacks support from other public institutions,” said the news portal.

“Faced with the current political scenario, instead of criticising defected state rep Hee Yit Foong (previously from DAP) and the BN for taking over the state’s administration illegally, the Pakatan Rakyat should inform and educate voters about the issues they are facing.

“Resorting to populist actions and allowing voters to vent their anger and frustration can bring short-term satisfaction to the Pakatan Rakyat, but this will not bring any substantial improvement to the coalition as a fixture in Malaysia’s political system in the long run.”

The analysis concluded: “The rules of the game will definitely not be as simple as it is now when Datuk Seri Najib Razak takes over as prime minister. The Pakatan Rakyat is bound to face greater challenges during Najib’s era. Is it ready?”

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