Najib’s trial by media


Salleh Said Keruak

I remember back in 1997 when Anwar Ibrahim’s gang in Umno attacked the then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad regarding his family and friends who were alleged to have enriched themselves through their association with Seri Perdana.

The allegation of cronyism and nepotism was the rallying call at that time, which Dr Mahathir was accused of. Basically, the Prime Minister was subjected to a trial by media and sentencing in the court of public opinion.

The public, of course, swallowed everything that was being said mainly because any allegation against the powers-that-be is always seen as the truth even if the allegations are not supported by tangible evidence.

Such is the occupational hazard of being in public office. The accuser need not prove guilt but the accused needs to prove innocence, contrary to what the justice system is supposed to practice.

Anwar Ibrahim laments that he was subjected to trial by media in both the Sodomy 1 and Sodomy 2 episodes. He further laments that the attacks against him are unfair and unjust. Dr Mahathir, too, used to complain about the same thing back in the days when he was under attack.

Today, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is being given the same ‘justice’ that was given to Dr Mahathir almost 18 years ago and what Anwar complains he is being subjected to now. Why is it wrong in one situation and right in other?