IF YOU are a regular citizen, you must admit your guilt and turn over a new leaf before you can be pardoned.
But the partial pardon obtained by incarcerated former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday (Feb 2) – which came after current PM Anwar’s full pardon in 2018 – is indicating that if you are a top politician, regular rules that apply to everybody else will not apply to you.
If you are a top politician, you neither must admit your guilt nor turn over a new leaf in order to receive a pardon. You can receive a pardon or a partial pardon even if you do not admit your guilt and refuse to change over a new leaf just because you are “special”.
Why is this the case? Well, it could be because your country has two laws. One applies to regular/ordinary citizens while the other applies to “important people.”
Important people might claim that they are just as equal as a regular citizen under the eyes of the law but the reality is that important people are more equal than regular citizens.
Regular citizens will be punished if they break the law but important people will only be punished if they both break the law and enter a conflict with a more important person.
If they break the law but are not in conflict with more important people, they will not be punished. If they are punished but they are no longer in conflict with important people, they will be pardoned.
Why is this a problem?
This is a problem because to be considered mature, civilised and developed in today’s world, you are not supposed to see a distinction between regular people and “important people.” In the words of Abraham Lincoln, we are just supposed to be a nation “of the people, by the people, for the people.”
In a mature, civilised and developed country, we are only supposed to be as important and special as our job and our responsibility make us to be, and that everybody is entitled to aspire to do a job that will make us important or special.
Every citizen, for example, can aspire to become a minister or a prime minister (PM) if they are willing to do the job and carry the necessary responsibilities.
So long as one is a minister or PM, one will be accorded certain privileges to be effective in one’s job but these privileges are tied to one’s job and responsibility, not the individual per se.
When one is no longer doing a job or carrying a responsibility, one will have to forget about the privileges granted to one’s job and responsibility.
It is only in backward and third world countries that privileges are tied to one’s person, not one’s job or responsibility.
In the past, privileges were tied to a person. If you are born special and important, you will die as important and special. Today, we still keep the practice of honouring a person by birth but only in limited terms.
The royal families of many nations, for example, are still honoured by birth but this honour is only limited to a select member of the royal family. We still honour them as a mark of respect to the world that has passed because it is from the world that has passed that the present world has emerged.
Going against reality
The present world, however, is not supposed to expand on the mores and practices of a world that no longer exists.
A nation that still expands upon the mores and practices of a world that has passed is considered as a backward or a third world nation. A backward or a third world nation is basically a nation that still lives in a time that has passed and a world that no longer exists.
It is a nation that is rebelling against reality. It is a nation that rebels against reality by living in delusion and it is sure to lose out because nothing wins against reality.
Reality is something that we all have to submit to and not rebel against. We have to because even if we are able to rebel against reality and come out on top, the price of our success is that we will bring our entire world down.
Malaysia has been a nation that has been going against reality for quite a while now.
PMX Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction back in 1998 and his subsequent pardon in 2018 to the persecution of Tun Daim Zainuddin and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to the partial pardon of former PM Najib yesterday (Feb 2) are all signs that we are a nation that is rebelling against reality.
Even if some of us succeed in rebelling against reality, the cost of it is that our entire nation will continue to decline and deteriorate because of it.
As a nation, we are like the proverbial camel. Straws keep on being piled on top of our nation’s back by irresponsible and reckless people – and though the camel that is still standing – the weight of it all is for sure weighing us down.
If we keep piling up the straws, one of these days, a straw is finally going to break our nation’s back. – Feb 3, 2024
Nehru Sathiamorthy is a roving tutor who loves politics, philosophy and psychology.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.
Main pic credit: KiniTV