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LETTER FROM THE RAKYAT The Government of any country must follow conventions and legislation established to maintain law and order in society. Regardless of high ambitions, one cannot bypass legislative systems to make unofficial or unverified statements pertaining to elected or appointed leaders. A case point is Tun Dr Mahathir’s recent announcement that the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat, Pandikar Amin Mulia “does not want to carry on, so now the Speaker is his deputy” at a forum in Ipoh. Many sites stretched the tale beyond imagination causing ripples in the internet. How many Malaysians stopped to consider the issue carefully before going to town with the “revelation”? Can a former Prime Minister who left office 12 years ago have the right to announce information that an honored and respectable presiding officer of the Dewan Rakyat is resigning? Even if he is the longest reigning Prime Minister for 22 years, he circumvented the formal processes of a resignation in his announcement. For all his local and international experience, surely the former Prime Minister is well aware of the available avenues of communication for such an announcement, even if indeed the Speaker was unhappy with the state of affairs. As the eighth speaker of the Dewan Rakyat since April 28th, 2008, Pandikar Amin Mulia knows the rules, responsibilities, and expectations of behaviour of his position. A man of his status would not announce his resignation this way. It goes against what he has done, knows, and has learnt for the past seven years. Few questioned such aspects of the statement and many were ready to pounce on the government, ready to believe the worst, without weighing the facts and circumstances. Most worrying is the stark sterile minds of those who blew the scenario out of proportion in their varied social media responses. They focused on other aspects of his meeting with the former Prime Minister in a classic spin to manipulate facts and circumstances according to their interests. When the Speaker later declared he was not quitting, most chose to turn a blind eye and zipped up. The culture of condemnation has to stop. Testing the veracity of information is vital to maintain journalistic standards. While there is freedom of expression, there is no room for reporting based on one source, regardless of how powerful is the personality. With Pandikar’s denial, the resignation issue now appears to be fabricated. This brings to mind many other issues that have been given wide airing by media and social media. To what extent have the content been thoroughly investigated to verify the allegations? Unverified reports based on hearsay should not be given airing at all. Otherwise, the seeds of disunity and discontent will continue to be sown.

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