Only one rotten apple is needed to smear your good name

People should be pleased with the recent high-profile arrests by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), but are they?

It seems to me we have more questions than compliments about these MACC arrests. It is the same response to the requests to set up a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) on the Memali incident. In the Memali incident on Nov 19, 1985, a police siege on a village in Baling, Kedah, ended with the death of 14 residents and four policemen.

Why the sudden urge to dig up incidents from more than 30 years ago to seek a RCI on it? Is it politically-motivated? As the MACC arrests? Politically-motivated? Why are the arrests taking place now? Who have been tipping off the MACC? Is the MACC objective in their probes? Are the people involved in these cases Umno people or those supportive of the BN government or allied to former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad or to his administration?

People have questions because they are not sure of MACC’s or the government’s integrity . The questions may have very legitimate answers but in the eyes of the public, the motives are suspect.

MACC can shout itself hoarse by saying “Don’t discuss the issues because they are under probe and any discussion can be construed as obstacles warranting punishment!” The government can do the same by saying “We do so much for the people but they still don’t believe us!”

The reason is simple: The MACC and the government has lost credibility among a large section of the population.

The have lost credibility not because they are bad or didn’t do their job. They can’t be believed  because of just one thing: the way they handled 1MDB.

In the MACC high-profile probes, key players were arrested and brought to MACC lock-ups in the MACC orange suits. But in the IMDB case, no one saw any of their key players in the MACC orange suit! And, no one knows for sure if the case was investigated in the way it should have. We just don’t know.

The government has effectively silenced all discussion on 1MDB, saying the case was cleared. Was it? Again, we just don’t know the truth.

As long as the people don’t know the truth, we will always suspect the motives. That means, no matter what the government or MACC does, the people will never feel confident to believe what they say.

Why so? Public servants and leaders need to realise that you only need one thing badly handled to smear all your “good” work. You only need one rotten apple to spoil the rest. That one thing, unresolved, will hang over your head and influence the perception of those whose support you want. Because that one thing was not resolved, people will never be sure whether to believe or trust you.

If that trust and belief deficit is not addressed head on and honestly by demonstrating a commitment to put the interests of the people you serve first over your own interests,  people will never believe you no matter what you say or do. And the leader or leaders will never win over their hearts.

In the long run, that is what will cause the loss of support.

 

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