Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sarawak Entry Ban: ‘Isolated Incident’, My Foot!

The Sarawak Assistant State Minister Daud Abdul Rahman’s claim that the MP N. Gobalakrishnan being denied entry into Sarawak on Christmas eve was “an isolated incident” is just not good enough. While denying that the BN dominated state government was part of any entry ban, it is abundantly clear that the state government has not come clean on the issue. Notice that the authorities have not explained why it happened – and the assistant state minister has merely labelled it as ‘an isolated incident.’ That is not an explanation!

Besides, isn’t it curious that we should have a politician – not a ranking official of the immigration – come forward with a lame attempt to diffuse the issue. Sure, under the circumstances, politicians such as himself are entitled to respond to allegations that Gobalakrishnan’s detention at the Kuching International Airport was not politically motivated. But calling it “an isolated incident” is not an explanation – and it certainly is not adequate.

It’s about time that politicians – and bureaucrats – become more responsive and accountable to the public. This incident, whatever details about it that are thus far public, has all the trappings of the classic traits of ‘arrogance’ written all over it. For years, we have seen civil servants, bureaucrats, and politicians alike come to see themselves as masters of the public. At every turn, these folks display a sense of contempt for the public they serve.

In this case, the authorities in Sarawak can certainly get off their high horse, show accountability, and tackle this matter by coming clean with an explanation of why the MP from Padang Serai was denied entry. And enough with the lame talk – we’ve seen enough to know when we see a smokescreen.

G. Krishnan