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Jan 3, 2008


A lesson for public servants

When a sex scandal involving a public figure makes the news, the fate of the leader concerned is all but sealed. So Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, who admitted on Tuesday that he was the person who was filmed having extramarital sex, really had no option but to go.

His resignation yesterday from the cabinet, all party posts and from parliament was the logical next step for the health minister, MCA vice president and member of Parliament for Labis although, clearly, he did not think it was necessary for him to quit.

In announcing his resignation, he accused the public of taking the "moral high ground" and said that he thought his quick admission of guilt was good enough to save his career.

He is wrong. It is not about anyone taking the moral high ground. It is about him losing the moral ground to be a leader. A public servant, more so a cabinet minister, is expected to conform to a higher standard of conduct than ordinary citizens. Admission of guilt to a wrongdoing does not grant one exemption from being penalised for that indiscretion. If that was to be the case, many wrongdoers will escape punishment by merely making a confession.

And no matter what is said about the motives of those who distributed the DVD so widely in Johor and other states, the fact remains that what Chua did he did on his own. It wasn’t an entrapment.

This episode should serve as a lesson to all politicians to stop any shenanigans because if they are exposed, then they just have to go. Perhaps the best thing that can be said for Chua is that his quick admission brought the episode to an early close. If he had chosen instead to indulge in a futile game of denial and raising of doubts about the evidence, there would have probably been more muckraking before the inevitable end.

Chua should now be left to deal with the consequences of his actions on his family life in the interests of decency and compassion.


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