Remember, Malaysians, you saved yourselves

SEPTEMBER 26 — It’s been nearly two weeks but the hoopla around Billion Dollar Whale has yet to die down.

A little cold water needs to be thrown here, alas. Sad as it is for me to say it but Jho Low’s lawyers may have had some salient points about the book’s flaws.

The book skitters far too closely to the line journalists must draw at libel; Low is an easy target, after all. A fugitive on the run, whose lawyers, at most can send out legal letters without any real bite to their threats.

Where is the divide between what the public has the “right to know” and what is merely on show to titillate and entertain?

My reservations about the book aside, my other problem is with all the fawning and preening going around. Malaysians need to remember not just the foreign journalists who told the stories ours couldn’t.

They need to remember that ours tried. And have been trying, for a very long time.

Remember that many of those people who abetted the chaining and gagging of media are now supporting the current government. One of them is leading it today.

Remember the journalists, the activists and all the people who tried to tell stories that were shocking, but true. That were important.

That were necessary.

We didn’t have the Internet then.

I know that in the spirit of the New Malaysia, I’m supposed to give the government a little more benefit of the doubt. That I don’t need to take those old skeletons out of the closet and rattle them.

No, those skeletons need to be up and displayed. They need to be photographed and taught in school.

Because there is no guarantee those days could never return. After all, the spectre of the Fake News Act still remains.

Yes, it took outsiders to write an Amazon bestseller about the present darkness in our country. But remember that it was our people in the end who marched to the ballot box.

Remember that in the end, we saved ourselves because no one else would and no one else could.

Do not forget the many other stories now waiting to be told, the truths that need to be uncovered and the light that must be brought to the things that have been left hidden too long.

Let us be our own heroes.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.