SAY NO TO DOUBLE STANDARD!
The phrase “Double Standard” has been trending quite a bit in the social media accounts belonging to Malaysians of late Generally, the people are debating about how politicians seem to be getting away with violating laws, standing orders or standard operating procedures (SOPs) with much ease unlike the common folks.
This is especially so in the case of those ignoring, overlooking or not being aware of COVID-19 SOPs. As all of us know the government has been getting tough to keep the spread of the disease at bay. Well and good, we love that as no one wants another round of Movement Control Order or lockdowns. We will be set back by decades.
However, the government itself has been put in an uncomfortable position when a federal minister, for reasons which are still officially unknown, broke the 14-day home quarantine requirement in July after he and his family returned from a visit to Turkey, which was not a green COVID-19 zone at that point of time.
Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Dato Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali explained that the Prime Minister was aware of his trip and has told reporters to wait for the Health Ministry to make a statement. Indeed, Malaysians are waiting with bated breath.
Don’t know what are his actual reasons but we laymen have been told that once you are tested negative on arrival at KLIA, you just stay put in your home or your room for 14 days because of the coronavirus’s incubation period. When no symptoms are shown, you are cleared to enter society. But if you test positive when entering the country, you will be sent to a hospital. Basic SOP and simple, you do not need much explanation.
And this is for all. Even Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin stayed home in June for 14 days after one government official who attended a meeting chaired by him was tested positive. He was no exception but to be frank, it was a respectable and responsible action indeed.
This and some other recent actions by some top politicians have been viewed by many Malaysians and prompted them to claim that there are two rules in the country. This is debateable but let’s be clear here that any government and leaders in power must be seen to be “whiter than white.” Any small blemish will surely be exaggerated and blown out of proportions but I guess that is the price you have to pay if you are in power are aspire to be a leader. No escape here.
A double standard is described as a hypocritical evasion of moral duties, applying a stricter moral standard and ethical requirement to someone or something you dislike, while allowing friends, colleagues or politicians who you support to skate by on immoral actions and dishonest behaviour.
This is especially true in politics, where each major party tries to expose and punish opponents for lapses in judgment or immoral actions, while excusing and ignoring, in some cases even rewarding the same offences when committed by someone on their side and in their own group.
Take the example of the case of MPs from both sides of the political divide announcing the forming of a bipartisan parliamentary caucus to reform the country’s electoral system, which includes addressing party-hopping on Tuesday. I am one of those who support this move and would give my vote to any party which effectively stops this as I consider this kind of betrayal to the voters as totally unacceptable.
But the chairman pf this caucus is consciously or unconsciously practising a form of double standard. Umno's Padang Rengas MP Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz is part of the Perikatan Nasional government which is actually surviving today by those who had jumped parties. So he sits with the very people who he thinks should not have done that.
In fact, he described the move by the political frogs as embarrassing actions, to a point that the country is now becoming unstable because of party-hopping. He even went to the extent of referring to the party hoppers as prostitutes, adding that parties who do not agree with such efforts can be considered as “prostituting” themselves. “What are the examples we want to show to the youth actually? To me, an elected MP who hops to another party is a disgrace,” he said.
I must say for all his bravado, he appears to be “sleeping” with the very party hoppers, who he has described as disgraceful, in parliament and the government. But honestly, I can overlook his double standard here because he is the only one from PN who had openly condemned the despicable act of party hopping after an election.
Based on social media reactions on the subject of double standard, some are saying; Who's perfect? Everyone has double standards which they tend to display at some point in their life. Agreed. But if you are a political, community or religious leader who actually legislate or implement the laws or scriptures that tell us how to run our lives, you’d better not hide behind your privileged position. It is simply not acceptable in today’s order.
On this subject, Malaysians tend to be a forgiving lot. They forgive and forget on political, religious and racial grounds although the wrongs committed by the people whom they revere are real and proved by hard evidence. This fundamental flaw in many of us cuts across race, religion or political affiliation. All of us are guilty of this at some point or the other.
Many tend to close one eye and in the same breath call for action against others not of their own race or religion or political affiliation. I attribute this moral hypocrisy to misguided religious authority, racism, nationalism, societal/political privilege and gender inequities.
Having double standard is anathema in this world. It’s a kind of hypocrisy and hypocrisy is completely unwanted in religion as well as in nature. A person with double standards believes himself to be a good person, but in the eyes of others, he is certainly a bad person. Double standards are alien to personal integrity. Integrity is a part of faith. One who loses his integrity will consequently lose his faith.
Double standards are a perpetual obstacle to personality development. One who habitually observes double standards will not be a strong personality. Such people are devoid of sincerity. They say one thing but do something else. It is their petty interests which control their behaviour. Their behaviour is interest-based rather than principle-based.
On the global front, the United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s decision to forge diplomatic ties with Israel exposed many countries of their double standard when dealing with the Palestinian cause of the proposed two-state solution in Israel. It was pathetic to see many Islamic countries or governments that support the two-state solution failing to condemn the UAE but instead went on to say that it was its sovereign right.
In this day and age where social media appears to be reigning supreme, governments, leaders or citizens who practise double standard will not be able to hide their wrongs for long. For those who believe in God, I reckon He created social media as a check and balance after human beings failed miserably to do this. Karma does not appear to be waiting for a generation these days, it appears sooner than one expects.
Say no to double standard!
God Bless Malaysia!
K. Parkaran is a freelance journalist and media advisor currently. He was the Deputy Editor in The Star and a Senior Producer with Aljazeera International before.