It appears that no one in power in Malaysia has ever heard of being accountable for their actions.
It does not seem that way across the Causeway.
On Thursday, the chairman of Changi Airport Group, Liew Mun Leong, resigned days after Singapore’s High Court not only acquitted his former maid of stealing from him but criticised the allegations brought against her.
Liew, 74, had been the group’s founding chairman since 2009.
In a separate statement, Liew said he had also resigned as an advisor to Temasek International and several other board positions he had been holding. He had decided to retire.
The maid, Indonesia’s Parti Liyani was acquitted of stealing more than S$34,000 worth of items from Liew and his family. She’d worked for the family for a decade.
In his judgment, Justice Chan Seng Onn said there was an “improper motive” for mounting the allegations against Parti. This drew the notice of the Attorney-General whose chambers then said the judge’s comments “do raise questions which warrant further investigations.”
It could be that Liew was told, even ordered, to quit but the fact remains that he did. And that might still not be sufficient to get him off the hook.
Compare and contrast this to Malaysia where the truth varies but which is still a land of promise, especially before a general election. Here, the politicians like to make all the decisions without any of the responsibility.
But the best proof that light travels faster than sound is the Malaysian minister or deputy minister: they all appear to be intelligent until they open their mouths.
And no one, not a solitary soul, ever contemplates resignation as a consequence of stupidity or wrongdoing.
The examples, to say the least, are legion.
A full minister, with his family in tow, goes to Turkey and comes back without the mandatory two-week quarantine. When the news was leaked, he was fined RN1,000 after the fact. And this after a woman was jailed and fined RM8,000 for a similar offence.
Neither has the minister ever apologised.
A university student in rural Sabah climbs a tree for better Internet connectivity to take an online examination. When she posts this on her Facebook page, two deputy ministers castigate her decrying her post as fake.
When they get lambasted online, they retreat in a hurry and another minister flies to Sabah to apologise to the family. One of the two deputies has since apologised while the other quietly deleted his offending post without apologising,
Then there was the MP from the Islamic Party of Malaysia. During the debate on new drink driving laws, the not-very-informed lawmaker suggested that the Bible had been perverted presumably because it did not condemn the consumption of wine.
When this prompted an uproar, the unrepentant MP advised Christians that they “had no right” to be offended as his statement had been “a fact.”
The wannabe Bible scholar has been remarkably blasé about his thesis since.
But why should we be surprised?
A former premier has been found guilty of corruption, tax-dodging and gross abuse of power involving billions of dollars. Yet, as his judge noted, he has shown “no remorse” and has swaggered about since, appearing to all the world as the soul of probity.