The movie Spy Game (released in 2001), starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt, revolves around the story of the complex relationship between two CIA agents; one the retiring veteran agent and spy mentor; and the other, his cunning yet relatively naïve protégé. The protégé was in trouble and the mentor, in accordance with the agency’s official policy, cannot and should not offer any help. The rule is simple. When a spy is caught, the government denies your existence. The agent alone takes the fall and the government absolved itself from all responsibilities. After all, what is one life compared to the reputation of the entire nation and the government. It is for the greater good.
The protégé knows this. As one of the scenes in the movie depicts, in one of his earliest missions, he was instructed to abandon an anti-communist political figure at a heavily guarded communist territory. The young agent, though angry and disillusioned, obediently carried out the order. He shouted angrily at his mentor for forcing him to literally leave the person to suffer and die but was nonchalantly told “it was for the greater good”.
In many of the UMNO gatherings that I’ve been to, the same philosophy of ethics was used vis-à-vis Anwar Ibrahim. They would acknowledge that Anwar is a great politician and an intelligent man, but he is more importantly a dangerous figure. He is pro-America and he is too liberal. If he becomes the Prime Minister of Malaysia, he will dismantle the NEP and remove Islam as the official religion of the country. The Malays will lose their special privileges in business, education and all other enterprises. Anwar Ibrahim will then bring in the IMF, the World Bank and the Neo-Cons to take over the country, and the Malays will be abandoned and condemned to life as peasants in villages. Preventing Anwar from becoming the Prime Minister therefore is mandatory, no matter what it takes. It is for the greater good.
What we have now are two high-profile cases, one involving Anwar Ibrahim (former Deputy Prime Minister), and the other involving Najib Abdul Razak (current Deputy Prime Minister). In both cases we have people representing the highest institutions of the nation; the judiciary, the office of the attorney general, the military, health ministry, as well as various professional bodies directly and indirectly involved. Those who are directly involved in the police investigation, medical examinations and legal inquiries would know the truth about who is innocent and who is lying. They must have seen all the evidence and witnessed all the secret conversations. Hence they have the power either to perpetuate or dismantle the conspiracy.
As of today, it seems that Anwar Ibrahim will soon be charged, pronounced guilty and sent to jail for a very long time. Najib Abdul Razak will be absolved from any involvement with the Altantunya case and will continue his march towards the UMNO presidency. It does not matter that the international community and a sizeable majority of the country think that all these are conspiracies. It does not matter that the police and the judiciary in Malaysia will continue to be ridiculed and doubted. It does not matter too that Malaysia is now an international joke taunted with dishonourable titles such as “East Zimbabwe” and “Sodomy-Land”. UMNO and Barisan Nasional must be protected. They are the raison d’être of this nation. UMNO and BN is the greater good.
Now, coming back to the movie Spy Game, despite his direct involvement in various manipulative and devious operations, the retiring agent played by Robert Redford eventually decided to break the rules and disobey protocol to conjure up a rescue mission to save his protégé. In the end, what viewers saw was that even a ruthless spy, who many would have thought does not have a conscience, was willing to jeopardize his professional reputation to do what he himself thought deeply in his heart, was the right thing to do.
Human beings by nature have a conscience, a soul, an inner speech that is good and virtuous. We would be able to know upon reflection and deep contemplation, what is the right thing to do no matter how complex or ambiguous the situation is. The only question is whether we are willing to embark on that search, follow our hearts and do the right thing.
Let us hope and pray that all Malaysians; the monarchs, politicians, members of the judiciary, policemen, military personnel, medical doctors, nurses and all others directly and indirectly involved shall see the light that paves the way for them to realise what is the right thing to do. No more conspiracies, no more manipulation, no more moral gymnastics; follow your heart and do what is right. So please, anyone who has any knowledge of anything related to this issue, come forward and reveal them to us. If that means going against the status quo, risking your personal status and threatening your own comfortable life, so be it! The truth is the GREATEST good.
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