Infernal Ramblings
A Malaysian Perspective on Politics, Society and Economics

MCA's New Year Message Violates the Trust of Malaysians

Written by johnleemk on 7:22:13 am Jan 21, 2008.

Violating unwilling students' privacy with Malaysian taxpayers' money. You can't go much lower on the ladder of taboo things to do than that, and yet that is exactly what the Malaysian Chinese Association, the Public Services Department (Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam, or JPA) and Ong Ka Ting have done.

What happened? To mark the New Year, Ong Ka Ting obtained a list of email addresses of at least 500 JPA scholars, and sent them a New Year's message. To be specific, they were Chinese JPA scholars (few of whom, if any, had consented to giving their email addresses to the MCA).

So, what business did the Ministry of Housing and Local Government have with these bright young students? None, actually. Ong sent this message, not on behalf of the government or any of its ministries, but on behalf of the MCA.

The entire email, which can be found on the Education in Malaysia blog, consisted of nothing more than puffery praising the MCA to high heavens for its efforts in promoting diversity in the government and public service. The letter served no purpose for the government, but served to promote a specific political party to a group of JPA scholars selected solely on the basis of race.

There are so many problems with this that I am not even sure where to begin. Should we start with the abuse of taxpayer monies? Should we focus instead on the racialist thinking that pervades our society, as exemplified by this incident? Or should we look into the violation of privacy when whoever sent out the email forgot to BCC (blind carbon copy) it, making the email addresses of over 500 JPA scholars available to any recipient of the message?

Our government has no business promoting the interests of any specific political party. Winning an election does not give you carte blanche to do with the country's wealth and resources as you like. This is what makes Ong Ka Ting's abuse of government information so intolerable and unacceptable.

To make the picture clearer, how would you like to be placed on the UMNO, MCA, MIC, PKR, PAS or DAP mailing list? How would you like it if the government gave these political parties your home address so they could easily send you their newsletter and leaflets? Probably not very much. If you wanted to be on their mailing list in the first place, you would subscribe.

So why should the government be allowed to violate the privacy of Malaysians, and give out their personal information to a political party? Is this not incredibly abusive of the trust we have placed in the government we elected to represent us?

We deserve a government that will put our interests ahead of the political parties that form it. The government and its political parties are not the same; they stand apart as separate entities. We must demand and support a government that will protect the things we entrust to it, instead of squandering them.

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Infernal Ramblings is a Malaysian website focusing on current events and sociopolitical issues. Its articles run the gamut from economics to society to education.

Infernal Ramblings is run by John Lee. For more, see the About section. If you have any questions or comments, do drop him a line.

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