With regards to Ex-Minister Chua Soi Lek’s exposed sex life and resignation, many issues are more important than his personal life, political conspiracies or who his successor within MCA will be (which is politically irrelevant to the UMNO-centred national politics).
One of them is the misplaced importance on private life of public office holders, on which Merdeka Review (in Chinese) carries two excellent articles. Political commentator Josh Hong argues forcefully why Chua should not top the list of MCA ministers to resign while journalism lecturer and feminist Por Heong Hong warns us the hazard of moral policing.
Related to this is the obsolete legal prohibitions of oral sex and other form of “unnatural sex”. Chua will not be the highest-ranking person to face the law even if this possibility has not been ruled out by the PM. Former DPM Anwar Ibrahim, charged and initially convicted for sodomy, still tops the list of victims to the laws which ridiculously allow the state to determine what consenting adults should and should not do in private.
Another issue is the protection of privacy. Not only politicians or other celebrities (like the Hong Kong female singer in Genting) may fall victim to the hidden cameras, ordinary people like tenants, users of public washroom or changing room, office workers, foreign maids may have had their privacy invaded unknowingly. Oh… that happens in the police lock-up too, remember the squat-gate in late 2005?
The Privacy International’s report on “Leading surveillance societies in the EU and the World 2007” (excerpt below), blogged by Jeff Ooi, ranked Malaysia amongst the worst in the world along Russia and China in protecting individual privacy.
For one, many Malaysians have low awareness on privacy and data protection. Mykad would have caused a political turmoil as infringement of human rights in UK but it is hailed as technological advancements by many in Malaysia.
An Act of Data Protection is now being drafted by the Attorney-General Chamber with the public being kept in the dark. One wonder if it would cover multimedia data like audio-video images and allow civil suits for damages.
- No right to privacy in constitution
- No comprehensive privacy law
- Controversial internal security act allows for extensive police powers
- Interception authorised by attorney general
- Extensive use of identification scheme, mykad
- Plan to implement citizen data hub across government departments, developed by oracle corporation, including individuals background, education, and health records
- Biometric system monitors foreigners in the country
- Extensive use of CCTV with no privacy safeguards