The episode surrounding state assemblyperson Elizabeth Wong is beginning to assume a new twist. Slowly subverting violation of privacy as the main issue at hand is a desire to impose one’s moral on others. For a society like ours, that is hardly surprising. Recent event indicates what many have already known: we have a long way to go before enjoying a society of free individuals but it might just get worse. If the call for the resignation of Wong is successful, we are in the prospect seeing greater standardization of moral across all communities when previously, it was only mostly visible within a particular community.

I might be beating a dead horse but for those who are truly concerned with the state of individual right to privacy should not let the issue die. In that spirit, I am only glad to repeat what others have said: Elizabeth Wong is a victim.

Unfortunately, far too many individuals with Khir Toyo possibly as flag bearer of the informal group of thought are pummeling the victim while ignoring the occurrence of crime. If it is unclear, the only crime that happened is the violation of Wong’s privacy.

The same rationale is applicable to the case of Chua Soi Lek though this is not to say that the cases of Chua and Wong are the same. Chua is married and he broke the trust of his wife. Wong on the other hand is single. The contexts differ and so too the justifications.

In Chua’s case, the betrayer of trust is him — here, trust refers to his family trust on him — while in Wong’s case, the betrayer of trust is her former boyfriend — here, trust refers to trust between Wong and her friend. Notice that the betrayer of trust in the latter case is not the victim of violation of privacy, unlike other case.

Yet, in both cases, the crime is the violation of privacy and nothing else.

When the calls for resignation for both were made, it only showed that the callers are trying to impose their morality on others. This is especially visible when Khir Toyo called for Wong’s resignation. While it is still wrong from the perspective of liberty, the imposition of morality on others has more or less occurred within a community, specifically the local Muslim community. While being mindful that a community is not monolithic, the opinion of those identified themselves as belonging to the community and taking conservative position previously only wanted to impose their morality on those who they deem as belonging to the same community, their community. They do so on the assumption that there is only one moral standard in their imagined monolithic community.

Khir Toyo’s demand is definitely one of the more prominent calls that cross into another community where the moral standards — if one use the logic of monolithic community, which is typically used by UMNO, however flawed it might be — differ.

Khir Toyo and those from his community — that is an assumed Malay community —  supporting the call for Elizabeth Wong’s resignation because of Wong’s private life wrongfully made public due to intrusion of privacy may demonstrate an increasing tendency of the cultural or religious conservatives to impose their morality on others from outside of their perceived homogeneous community.

Alternatively, if that is wrong, then the call for resignation of Wong is done out of malice, lacking honesty based not at all on moral and principally driven by excessively vicious political competition otherwise, rightly called by others, as gutter politics.

This cannot be allowed to happen because it creates an perverse opportunity to standardize morality across different communities. While effort to standardize morality within community is already a step towards tyranny if not tyranny itself, wider standardization is a step towards hell if not hell itself.

There is a direction I will oppose and that is the reason why I wish for Elizabeth Wong to continue to serve to the people of Selangor and beyond as a member of the Executive Committee of Selangor and as a assemblyperson for Bukit Lanjan.

2 Responses to “[1906] Of an insidious prospect for greater moral standardization”

  1. […] by Hafiz Noor Shams […]

  2. on 18 Mar 2009 at 10:41 oneworldmaybenot

    Actually even though I am not too fond of Chua Soi Lek for raising my cigarette taxes, what he did is between him and his wife.

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