Ethics, morals needed more than ever | Selangor Times
Issue 118


Ethics, morals needed more than ever
Writer: Azmi Sharom
Published: Fri, 29 Mar 2013

SOMETIMES reading the news makes one rush to the bathroom for a long hot shower. 

The feeling of being dirty demands nothing less than near boiling water and the strongest antiseptic soap.

The recent video showing apparent deep corruption in the Sarawak government should have caused widespread outrage on all news media. 

Instead, apart from the internet news portals, we get nothing.

It is the same with political rallies that have participants calling for the death of an MP. 

It is beyond distasteful, it is uncivilised and barbaric.

Or what about the viciousness against opposition political parties, with threats of violence punctuated with the throwing of eggs and sticks?

Again, the silence amongst the mainstream media is deafening.

And it is not just the media which seems to have abandoned their responsibility. 

We hear nothing from the ruling party or from the agencies that are meant to protect.

It would appear that this country has degenerated into a mire of sheer hypocrisy, double standards and dishonesty. 

What is particularly shameful about this situation is not the fact that it happens, after all corruption and thuggish behaviour has been around for a long time, but there seems to be not even a token sign of disapproval from the powers that be.

It is now clearly and obviously a case of “if you are with us and against our enemies, then nothing you can do is wrong”.

In a way I suppose this is a good thing because at least we get to see groups and individuals as what they are. 

What is frightening to me is the possibility that even with such an exposure there is still apathy amongst the people and that to them it doesn’t really matter.

I hope this is not the case, and that there is still some sort of moral and ethical core in the peoples of this nation to see that such behaviour and the condoning of such behaviour is vile.

We are quite obviously a religious country. 

There are buildings of worship scattered all over the place and religion holds a strong grip amongst all of the communities of Malaysia. 

But what is the point of praying to God when such obvious sins are seen as “just the way it is”. Or it is overlooked because the one being attacked is “the other”.

Religiousness without morality is worse than useless, it is repulsive.

The real question then is, is it too late? Are we doomed to living in a lawless nation?

I don’t think so; it all depends on the leaders of the nation. And by leaders, I do not mean just political leaders, but community leaders, opinion leaders, and family leaders.

The tenor of this country has to change where ethics and morals once again become the backbone of the nation. 

By ethics, I mean the way one behaves with others in the context of one’s individuality and one’s position in society. 

By morals I do not mean cheap “moralism” of judging the private behaviour of others, but instead I mean a deeper more profound interpretation of a deep humanist and axial philosophy of right and wrong where the core value is the golden rule of not doing unto others what we would not like done to ourselves.

Note also that I did not say religion because I think that we have seen too often how religion can be used to disguise abhorrent attitudes and behaviour.

The name of God is so powerful and awe inspiring that it can hide a multitude of sins. 

Conversely behaving in a manner that is ethical and moral according to humanist values leaves a person with nowhere to hide, for his or her actions are their owns and can’t be attributed to a divine power.

In other words, we need moral and ethical people at all levels of society, from the person on the street to the people in power. 

We can’t do much with our fellow citizens, but we most certainly can with the people in power and it starts simply with this: if you can’t stand up against corruption, if you behave in a way that is against the rule of law, if you have no courage to stand up against barbarism, then you have no morals, you have no ethics and you have no business to lead.


 Selangor Times



Also by Azmi Sharom:

We live in warped logic

DON’T get it. I just don’t get it.

Greater professionalism in police

Peaceful is as peaceful does

1AI was sitting in Merdeka Stadium on Saturday with a couple of friends, watching the venerable old lady of independence fill up with people, I playfully wondered if  photographers from the mainstream media had been there earlier to take a photo of an empty stadium to be used as “evidence” that no one turned up.

Rotating parties for better governance

IN my last article I wrote about the importance of changing the system of local government that we have. By that I meant we should reintroduce local government elections as well as overhaul the Local Government Act in order to ensure a more transparent and accountable local authority.

Importance of local government elections

THE Batu Caves condominium project has raised some interesting talking points. The most obvious of these, the one taken up by the many comments I have read on the internet, is the sheer bald faced cheek of the BN government.

Can bully boy tactics win?

Oh what a glorious night! Twenty-three years of humiliation, with nothing but self-deprecating humour to comfort oneself, finally laid to rest on that one glorious night.

New wine, old wineskin

It is telling that during the Suhakam inquiry into the Bersih 3.0 rally a police officer revealed when questioned that he did not know that the right to assemble was constitutionally guaranteed for the people of this country.

Really, you can’t make it up

Rais Yatim should be given a present from people like myself who write current affairs articles. 

Scripts for Tinseltown

Hollywood, having run out of ideas, has turned to Malaysia for inspiration. Below are two potential blockbuster movies which draw their plots from the pages of Malaysia’s newspapers.

And so it begins...

The scare tactics that are so beloved by the ruling coalition. We have seen it before of course. Like an evil babysitter, the BN has constantly thrilled at telling horror stories to keep us in our place.

Only the uncaring will not care

If the government is not quaking in their boots after last weekend, then they must be in total denial.

Informed, not phony, reasons work better

There have been two consistent arguments used by the Barisan to persuade the electorate to vote for them. The first and more popular claim is that we should vote for them because they have experience.

Nation of idiots in the making

We are on the brink of becoming a nation of idiots.

When silence implies consent

Hope Springs eternal

THIS year, the most amazing political event to have occurred in the world could very arguably be the Arab Spring. Popular uprisings all over the Middle East have seen dictatorships fall like ten-pins in the centre of of a camel race. The process continues still.


Lack of respect for the Constitution

It’s quite apt that it was during a mass circumcision ceremony that Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz made his announcement that Section 27 of the Police Act 1967 is going to be removed. We, the people of Malaysia, just like the poor little nippers at that ceremony, are going to be rid of something.











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