Update: The MPPP has decided not to take legal action against Jessie Ooi. Wise decision.
Jessie Ooi did not observe proper etiquette during the Guan Eng-Soi Lek debate, but MPPP councillors are over-reacting by threatening a legal suit against her.
By sounding obnoxious, Jessie Ooi has damaged her own reputation far more than the MPPP’s, as mentioned in an earlier blog post. Now she is stewing in her own discomfort as many have reacted with disgust. That is punishment enough.
So there is no need for the MPPP to talk of legal action – which is an over-reaction. Public perception of the MPPP’s reputation is not based on what Jessie Ooi or anyone else says. It is based on the council’s performance, service to the public, impartial enforcement of by-laws, clean governance, and level of public participation in decision-making over the years.
Jessie has not accused any of the councillors of corruption, etc. so whose reputation has been really damaged?
We do not want to go down the slippery slope of slapping libel suits on complainants – unless there are compelling reasons and real damage to reputation and public standing. That would only deter genuine critics and complainants.
Further down that slippery slope is the use of libel suits to bankrupt critics and cow them to silence. That, my friends, is the road to authoritarianism and dictatorship. We certainly don’t want to move in that direction.
For her part, Jessie should do the decent thing, what Aliran has suggested: apologise for the outburst based on inaccurate facts. That should close the matter.
Read Aliran’s statement.
And human rights lawyer Charles Hector’s blog post.