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Victimisation of Suaram by gov't could backfire

There is growing disquiet in the community and it is understandable.

The government while promising transformation has only fuelled the rising discontent.

The battery of law reforms has also attracted criticism with the revelation that the UN special envoy on human rights, Maina Kiai, thinks the Peaceful Assembly Act is designed to control rather than faciliate peaceful assemblies and fails to meet international human rights.

I find it easier to believe his cogent reasons, than the nonsensical response of his detractors who shamelessly showed their racist intent by picking on the repected man's ethnicity.

Many Malaysians have spoken out against the victimisation of Suaram which the NGO claims is a persecution of its role in the Scorpene corruption scandal.

Reports that Suaram will soon be declared an 'illegal organisation' lend credence to the criticism.

Some issues are clearly not about politics but moral decency and above politics.

You cannot talk about 'clean, efficient and trustworthy' government and then boast about a jihad against corruption but baulk at the thought someone close to you in government may be culpable and do nothing but undermine the due process of bringing them to book.

Ironically it will be the government not Suaram that will suffer the rapid erosion of its reputation because the public has grown weary of the administration's unfair and unbecoming tactics in punishing those who expose corruption and serious wrongdoings in government.

It was Bersih then and the court had the sense to throw out the false accusations of its illegality and has exonerated those wrongly charged with illegal assembly.

Fabricated charges of illegality simply won't work against Suaram either because the public sees it clearly as nothing more than a political vendetta against Suaram and a fair-minded judge will see it that way, too.

It would then be difficult for a government that has a proven record of corruption in its rank and file right to the top of its leadership to be taken seriously when it seems more bent on protecting the allegedly corrupt than taking them to task through the many legal avenues available to stem corruption.

Malaysians do not believe in trial by media that is why it is important for the government to be seen giving its full cooperation to the French authorities and allow the due process of the rule of law because it is not only the reputation of those involved at stake but the nation's.

No one is guilty and condemned except by a court of law but by short-circuiting the system and forestalling Suaram there is the danger that people will start thinking the government is afraid to face the courts and protecting its own and that eliminating Suaram may do the trick.

But it won't work.

With a viable alternative government in the Pakatan Rakyat sitting in the wings it behooves the incumbent government to tread warily and not be seen to be acting unfairly against Suaram and add another miscarriage of justice to the plethora of injustices against its critics and the opposition.

The government cannot afford to be seen as adding salt to the wounds of a nation already hurt and anxious about their economic welfare by words and deeds that worsen their fears for the freedom of civil liberties and the persecution of NGO's that serve the public interest in the country.

Any assault on the peaceful and legitimate actions by groups like Suaram is an attack on civil society and the moral conscience of the people.

No one dislikes a good government but a bad government makes itself the enemy of the people and by its words and deeds its own worst enemy.

It falls on its own sword.