I stand by my views, says letter writer
The following is an open letter by Steve Oh, the man who penned the letter that is at the centre of a police investigation.
I am sorry to learn about the police visit to your office yesterday, not just one or two but 15 of them.
It lends credence to former PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad's idea of ‘a police state’. If not over my letter, I am sure the police will find another reason to visit your office. It is mind-boggling why so many were necessary and you must have run out of tea or coffee.
I am told the reason for their visit was over a letter I had written to you and which you had published touching on the comments by Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar at last Saturday’s Oriental Hearts and Mind Study Institute (OHMSI) Truth Matters forum.
I am glad that you still have it in the letters column because as your editor-in-chief Steven Gan rightly explained, "There is nothing considered as seditious in Oh's letter" and he is absolutely right. I stand by what I have written and let others fall in their false accusations.
I am just a nobody expounding somebody's ideas of freedom in a country bent on becoming the 'world's best democracy' as promised by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak. My ideas are congruous with his noble proposal so I can't understand why Malaysiakini is being put through the gauntlet again, this time over my letter. If a citizen has no freedom to express his or her peaceful ideas, then it is a dark place indeed.
I love the Malays, I love the Indians, I love the Chinese, I love the Sabahans, I love the Sarawakians and to speak the truth in love about their welfare is to love Malaysia and that is why I write. Nothing should stop anyone from speaking out against the wrongs in society and good governance is about rectifying the wrongs and not exacerbating the wrongs with more wrongs.
I am also told that unless you give the police my email contacts they will confiscate your computers. You have refused to give them any details without my permission. It is what a noble and principled journalist and newspaper will do even if there is nothing to hide. It is all about professional ethics and safeguarding the integrity of journalism.
I do not want you to lose your computers so please feel free to give the police my email details under protest and offer them every cooperation, but they may still confiscate your computers. There is nothing to add or subtract from what was published, and my letter was on its way to the Malaysiakini archives until the police became the catalyst for its spread.
News and views come and go but the police can make them last much longer. I don't blame the police who have to follow orders and I look forward to when they will not be used to pursue trivial matters when the real criminals are out there. The police must also remember that they are accountable to a higher divine authority and must act justly and protect all citizens from slander and various forms of injustice.
Let good triumph over evil
Allow me to thank your readers for their comments of support but it is not about me but the welfare of others who have suffered the harsh injustices in the country. We climb mountains because they are there and we say things that need saying because we are conscionable human beings who care for others when we observe the injustices happen right before our eyes and the least we can do is speak out in their cause.
It is not my intention to upset anyone, least of all those who hold office in government which we all must respect but in a democracy when those in governance give us reason to criticise them as when they do wrong then it is our patriotic duty to speak out.
"Courage is not the absence of fear but the strength to do what is right in the face of it," wrote J Johnson.
The betrayers of democracy are not only its repressors but those who abet them by their apathy or sympathy. I know more and more Malaysians want their country to be a better place and have good governance. That is why they speak out and Malaysiakini provides that avenue in a responsible way.
What is needed for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing, as Edmund Burke wrote.
My prayers still are for the government and all those in authority that they will do good and not harm the innocent because doing what is right exalts a nation and everyone benefits. There are good politicians in government as in the opposition and a responsible and responsive civil society has to be active to ensure the good triumph over evil.