Civil servants are already facing stern action, not for slandering the government but for telling the truth.
This is according to veteran newsman A Kadir Jasin, who responded to the call from Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Minister Azalina Othman Said for stern action against civil servants for "slandering the government".
"I don’t really understand what the minister meant by stern action because many civil servants had already been sacked, terminated and transferred, not for slandering the government, but for telling the truth and doing the right thing," Kadir said in a blog posting today.
Kadir, who served as New Straits Times group editor-in-chief for 14 years, said one such example was the resignation of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) special operations division director Bahri Mohd Zin.
Bahri went into early retirement, citing disappointment at the failure to prosecute the SRC International case, in which at least RM42 million was transferred into Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's personal bank account.
Attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali had cleared Najib of wrongdoing, stating that the prime minister did no know about the RM42 million in his account and thought it was part of the RM2.6 billion "Arab donation".
"It must have bothered the conscience of scrupulous MACC officers like Bahri and those who retired under similar circumstance that while (small fishes like the) 'bilis' and the 'gelama' are brought before the justice, the biggest 'jerung' (shark) of all had to be let off scot-free," said Kadir.
Kadir, who is also Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) supreme council member, said there was no need for civil servants to cast a negative light on the government as the government was already doing so and doing it better.
Meanwhile, lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla said in his Facebook posting that exposing alleged government wrongdoings do not constitute slander.
Haniff, who is a lawyer for former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said the government was better off ensuring it complied with the law as its legitimacy depended on it.
"The Public Officers Regulations (Conduct and Discipline) 1993 and Official Secrets Act 1972 cannot be used to threaten and frighten civil servants against exposing wrongdoings, crimes or misappropriation by the government, ministers or high-ranking officials," he said.- Mkini