Opaque is as bad as fake

Opinion  |  Dean Johns
Published:  |  Modified:

Let’s not be fooled by this week’s fake attacks on fake news by two of the fraudulent Umno/BN regime’s leading exponents of such fakery, Salleh Said Keruak and Ahmad Maslan.

These fakers are hoping we’ll all be so focused on the fantastic hypocrisy of their remarks as to be fooled into forgetting that fake news, for all its evils, is at least out in the open where we can fight it with the truth, but that we are totally powerless against non-news, or denial of information we have a right to.

In other words, the censorship or outright silence on government actions and economic management, as enforced by Umno/BN’s notoriously extreme Official Secrets Act (OSA), and similarly truth-repressive statutes ruthlessly enforced by other repressive regimes around the world, arguably disadvantages people even more than lies do.

Though of course state secrecy and lies always actually work together, with secrecy serving as the first and fundamental line of defence against revelations of official incompetencies, corruptions and other criminalities, and lying kept in reserve in case such embarrassments become public.

For example, the case of world-record looting of 1MDB and subsequent laundering of the proceeds was long kept secret by Malaysia’s regime-complicit banking authorities, so-called law-enforcement agencies and "mainstream" media.

It was only after overseas-based media and economic regulators made the scandal public that Umno/BN had to resort to crying "fake news" and to creating its own genuinely fake fake news in response.

Though this frenzy of fakery has doubtless proven a mixed blessing for the Umno/BN regime, on the one hand failing to protect it from international opprobrium and ridicule, not to mention the investigation and possible prosecution of some of its members and cronies, and on the other hand drawing both local and global attention away from countless lesser or still-secret scandals.

The farrago of fakery inspired by the 1MDB affair seems to have been a mixed blessing for the Malaysian people, too. Those still steadfastly supporting Umno/BN out of what I can only assume must be stupidity, cupidity, or a dismal combination of both, have been shamed even more than before...

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