The ethics of cheating to obtain stolen docs


Modified 27 Jul 2015, 3:18 am

YOURSAY ‘There are already too much lying and cheating in this fair land of ours.’

The Edge boss: We misled Justo to secure evidence

Vijay47: Let us settle one painful truth first - The Edge owner Tong Kooi Ong, you did not keep the pledge you made with Xavier Andre Justo, you broke your word, and that smears your standing.

But does that make Tong a dishonourable man? Without making excuses for him in respect of the lesser deed, we also have to examine the greater good.

What national interest, or "parliamentary democracy" as the IGP (inspector-general of police) is presently concerned about, would Tong have served should he have chosen to withdraw if securing the smoking gun could not have been achieved though fairer means?

Refrain and allow shameless crooks to continue unfettered, or publish and be damned? The path he opted to take is fraught with the very dangers and repercussions he knew would result and which he now suffers.

You cannot take on Umno and expect to come out of it unscathed. Taking the necessary measure when aware of the painful consequences is what distinguishes heroes from common men.

Magnus: Tong, two cheats doesn't make a right. I believe you should have paid Justo because you have promised to do so and since there is nothing wrong in paying for information to expose a scam.

There are already too much lying and cheating in this fair land of ours. However, I am not the final judge on this matter.

Clongviews: Tong must disclose how he misled Justo. Surely, Justo cannot be so naVve as to release the thousands of documents without being paid a single sen.

Tong for not honouring his commitment to Justo is damaging his own credibility. However, his and Ho Kay Tat's actions on the investigative reporting on 1MDB has done a great service to the country.

This is definitely not conspiracy but exposing the wrongdoing of leaders in government. If they had committed any criminal act, the government should charge them.

Prudent: For me, personally there are two important issues:

1)  I certainly do not want Tong to cheat and renege on his promise on behalf of Malaysia and indirectly (because I am a Malaysian) on my behalf. It is opening the Pandora's box.

I am not willing to fight the demons that can emerge once that door to hell (lying, cheating and not keeping one's promise) is opened on Malaysia's behalf and agreed to by Malaysians.

The cost is the integrity and truthfulness of Malaysians, which is priceless, and if compromised, may finally cost much more than RM42 billion.

2) Tong is the owner of two financial publications. Many rely on the integrity of the financial facts and analysis therein to make important financial decisions.

If the owner of the publications has openly reneged on his word, based a justification that is right in his sight, the suspicion remains that the integrity of financial facts and articles in his publications may sometimes be similarly compromised.

Sin Lee Huang: Pay the man. The Edge tarnishes its own journalistic reputation by misleading Justo. It is not bribery. He needs to be paid because he might never be able to work again. The Edge owes him that much.

StrainingGnats, SwallowCamels: In a situation where none of the choices are entirely without drawbacks or ethical implications, it quickly becomes a choice for the lesser evil. But how much greater is the other evil?

If it is a choice between permitting the unprecedented criminal act of robbing one’s fellow citizens of such massive amounts of financial resources which can be put to many, many productive uses for its 30 million third world population, and the other choice of looking the other way, and letting the evidence vanish, the choice is clear and unequivocal - choose the lesser evil.

Especially when one has the resources, the opportunity and not to mention the responsibility to uncover the unheard magnitude of corruption which will surely wound the economy (if it hasn’t already), all Malaysians and the soul of the nation.

And Tong has paid a price. Just not the monetary price to a mercenary. It is the price of putting his honour and more, trusting Malaysians to judge sensibly what has been brought to light and to remain focused on the heart of the issue - was there cheating and stealing on an incredible scale, perpetrated by the very people entrusted with the welfare of the country? 

Which is the ethically justifiable option in a world of imperfect choices?

FellowMalaysian: Tong laid bare for all to see and ponder with his personal declaration of The Edge's involvements with 1MDB. Tong could not be more lucid, direct and clear than what he has just professed in his statement.

It is now imperative for the government to show indisputable evidence of their accusations and allegations against The Edge , its owner and publisher; chief of which is that the accused had tampered with the 1MDB emails and they had procured them by paying US$2 million.

Clearwater: 'Yes, we misled him.' That is an admission of courage. Justo was properly snookered. Now this may explain why The Edge Media Group risked so much to expose the 1MDB culprits. And it's US$1.83 billion, not just $0.7 billion.

Progressive: This is a bad government. And it has to be removed. Our nation is bleeding to the core. PM Najib Razak is charged with cheating the nation. Najib says it is not for personal gain - but for the nation. Tong says he lied and cheated - but for the nation.

Does the end justify the means? Does our hate for someone blind us to simple morality, ethics and integrity.

Tong may be a good person with good intentions. But still he cheated someone of US$2 million. How could he still be a hero? Can he be a role model for our children, for our youth and for our nation?

Hibiscus: Tong was a former banker. He was much respected as a person of integrity.  He therefore should have known better that his word should be his honour.

No matter how noble his objectives are, the end should never justify the means if deceit is employed to deny one of the payments promised.

Anonymous 759201436321741: Those who think less of Tong should ask themselves this question. Are you a better man than him?

Now, let's say Tong plays ball with the powers-that-be. He would have far more to gain (financially, at least) than what he is going through presently.

Who, in his right mind would do what he had done, especially those who think they are better than him (Tong). Talk is dirt cheap when you are not facing the firing squad.

Not Convinced: We do not know the full story so let’s reserve our judgement for now. I understand billionaire Jho Low was once Tong’s buddy. There was a fallout between the two.

Perhaps Tong was going after Jho Low, not so much Najib. After all, it was The Wall Street Journal which exposed the ‘Genting power plant for donation’ affair and Najib’s private bank accounts.

The problem is you can’t cleanly separate Jho Low from Najib in the 1MDB scandal.

Kim Quek: This honest statement from Tong is a conclusive account that should bring the document-tampering conundrum to a closure.

Yes, The Edge Financial Daily’s expose of the US$1.83 billion heist from the Malaysian people through 1MDB is a true story in every sense of the word.

This article that describes the money trails in details, together with the relevant documentary and digital information submitted to the authorities, is sufficient for the special task force to bring its investigation to a fruitful conclusion.

Tan Soo Inn: We can and should debate the ethics of Tong’s journalistic approach. But we must also ask, "are his findings true?" We mustn't confuse the two issues.

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The ethics of cheating to obtain stolen docs