`Tis Time for A Truth and Reconciliation Commission

MALAYSIA BAHARU

`Tis Time for A Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Amid cathartic euphoria signalling the end of one party dominance, unedifying revelations involving official transgressions should not undermine efforts to make Malaysia truly great. Time to move on! How? By constituting a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The dam of compliant silence and self-enforced censorship has been breached.

With the unshackling of the chains that allowed crooks masquerading as masters and emperors strutting around without shame nor sartorial inhibition, we are free – to express our woes and dig up past misdeeds and for some, settle old scores.

But hang on. Do we, as the good people of Kerinci in Lembah Pantai would say; bakar kelambu nak halau nyamuk or set fire to the mosquito net to chase away the pesky aedes aegypti?

Those who for so long had suffered in silence, weighed down by the force of authority may be out to seek revenge. But to wreak havoc and bring the house down in the process serves no purpose.

Many may demand to exact revenge – an eye for an eye; or a diamond for a diamond as the case may well be – so yes; remorse first, and then restitution.

This is where we have to look at the rebuilding of post-Apartheid South Africa.

It was unthinkable that Nelson Mandela who suffered so much through cruel isolation on Robben Island could dispense justice tempered with plenty of mercy. That he did – with the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission upon his release in 1994.

Many may demand to exact revenge – an eye for an eye; or a diamond for a diamond as the case may well be – so yes; remorse first, and then restitution.

With liberative force, there now appears a surge of revelations detailing vile greed, domineering control, victimisation and salacious tales of sorcery and witchcraft. What was spoken about in hush tones, is now openly public.

The pressure to close in and unravel the gory past took a hint of urgency when a private jet was lined up ready to take off from Subang airport on Saturday. Conspiracy theorists had a field day contemplating that this was to facilitate aerial exit after the Legacy 650 aircraft’s passenger manifest was examined.

However bizarre the plan, if this was an escape plan; the flight to freedom has been thwarted and the chicken is back in the coop. Now we have the opportunity to begin to put right past wrongs.

The restless rakyat wanting to see quick action and demanding that justice prevails – if not comeuppance and the dishing out of just desserts – are placated knowing the no criminal will get away scot free.

What we need towards redemption is the setting up of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. There should be absolute admission, humble contrition, honest remorse and full restitution.

So, what we need towards redemption is the setting up of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. There should be absolute admission, humble contrition, honest remorse and full restitution.

As for punishment, incarceration in prison may be more trouble than it is worth. Feeding, clothing and housing so many fat cat convicts can be financially draining.

A more practical alternative is community service – subject them to one million hours in janatorial purgatory.

It would be more cost-effective and socially rewarding for this potentially huge army armed with a toilet brush to unblock sewers.

That way we can emulate the practical Dutch who are emptying their prisons simply because they are running out of criminals. We could either look to Holland for alternative penitentiary lodgings or perhaps, let these VIPs (very important prisoners) loose but in return we get spiffy and shiny loos! 

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