IMAGINE a family member of yours post on social media about your domestic habits or activities that you do not wish others to know. Maybe you have a proclivity to lose your temper at home after a long day at work. Maybe you do not earn enough to support the family. Or there are days where you just have one too many to drown your sorrows.How embarrassing would it be for you if your spouse or children or other relatives were to put this up on social media for all and sundry? Maybe the “all and sundry” already know about your habits. But having your dirty linen washed in public by family members or loved ones becomes doubly hurtful.While most Malaysians draw the line when it comes to embarrassing their own family members, some do not hesitate in smearing our leaders abroad. A recent Facebook posting by Indonesian president Joko Widodo about the visit by Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin last week has drawn attacks against the latter by Malaysians.Using derogatory terms like “pengkhianat” (traitor), “backdoor” and “shameless”, the post saw an avalanche of comments from Malaysians whose sole intention was to run down their own PM in the eyes of his Indonesian counterpart. The amount of comments from Malaysians the post has drawn can only point to this being a concerted effort by Muhyiddin’s detractors, possibly by Pakatan Harapan.I am all for freedom of speech and expression. If Malaysians are unhappy with their prime minister, by all means say it out. Besides the local mainstream media, we have a thriving online news community as well as the uncensored use of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.Malaysians can take their grievances there. So long as they abide by laws such as the Sedition Act 1948, they can say whatever they want. Such discourses can help shape voters’ opinion and decide on the outcome of the next general election. In fact, such civil discussions should be encouraged as it helps to promote political maturity.But attacking a national leader overseas does not achieve the same outcome. President Joko Widodo is not going to vote in the Malaysian general election and neither will the citizens whom he leads. They just want to smear Muhyiddin, regardless of consequences.Whether they know it or not, the perpetrators who left vile comments about Muhyiddin on Joko Widodo’s social media have not just embarrassed the former. They have also embarrassed Malaysia and exposed their immature and shameless mindset. – February 8, 2021.* Victor Rozario reads The Malaysian Insight. * This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight.
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