Gutter politics or sordid politicians?

By Soong Phui Jee, AsiaOne

Some bloggers have made accusations against Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s son of sexual molestation and instead of condemning the acts, some politicians have taken the advantage to attack their political opponent.

Even MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek has admitted that such a phenomenon of which social values are greatly distorted is a practice of gutter politics.

However, Chua also claimed that Malaysian politicians have started practising gutter politics since the 2008 general elections. He also said that the Pakatan Rakyat stands on moral high ground only when they are affected.

There is neither condemnation nor action for righteousness. He just casually blames gutter politics.

In reality, the practice of gutter politics to attack opponents can indeed be found everywhere. It is dirty and at the same time, harmful.

Even more terribly, although some politicians knew that the rumour was groundless and the so-called victim was a foreign girl who has never been in Penang, they still took the advantage to stir up troubles or just watched with folded arms, letting the lies ferment and hurt those who are innocent.

Is it necessary to make politics so horrible?

When unscrupulousness becomes the last tool to fight the battle, when politicians who look prim and proper distort social values and even slander bully children of their opponents to fight for power and status, how many basic human norms are left in the society?

When politicians set a bad example instead of a good one, what else wouldn’t be done by villains in the society?

Sadly, it seems like our politics is bending towards gutter politics, particularly in the Internet era when politicians can speak “freely” online. Abusive, libelous, discrediting and pornographic remarks, as well as various kinds of scandals might be exciting but they are also confusing, causing people unable to distinguish between right and wrong.

As American author and humourist Samuel Langhorne Clemens, or better known by his pen name Mark Twain said: “A lie can travel halfway round the world while the truth is putting on its shoes,” the malicious objective would have been achieved while damages would have also been done before the truth is revealed.

Politics is not dirty by nature and it is some politicians who are sordid. Politics must not abandon the principles of reasoning and facts and it must pursue rationality. Once politicians abandon the basic competition rules of righteousness and fairness, and resort to dirty and nasty political means to achieve their objectives, politics would then no longer be able to manage the crowd, but harm the public instead!