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KACA MATAKU: Addiction to power and corruption: The DNAA complexity

By Dzulkifli Abdul Razak

It looks like we are caught in yet another acronym web, this time: DNAA. Most are familiar with DNA – the building block of human life as it were. With another ‘A’ added, it could be an aberration.

A corrupted version?

Corrupted, most likely! But, not the basic block per se. It is life itself. Out of sheer greed with reference to a series of unscrupulous events appraised by the court of law involving a dishonest misappropriation of millions of ringgit belonging to a so-called charitable organisation.

Although allegedly declared as prima facie by the court, it was later classified as DNAA   (aka, Discharged Not Amounting to Acquittal) and halted, creating an immediate explosion with numerous organisations and professionals denouncing it following its announcement on September 4.

The Court of Appeal, allegedly, after having earlier found that a prima facie, was quick to allude to the waste of taxpayers’ money and the court’s time when granting the DNAA  since the trials before the High Court began on November 12, 2019.

Notwithstanding, the government side is rather accommodating, at times even more accepting although not full-heartedly like rocket combustion that took many days to ignite ending with a short-lived miserable hiss!

Still, the plot is not over yet. Arguably, DNAA has been around for months before it exploded. Prior to that, it did not cause much excitement for some reasons.

Practically, no one cares. Maybe because it involves mostly the ‘little’ people below the age of 18 years. Not the influential, if arrogant, VIPs and veterans who have much more to lose given their ill-conceived behaviors.

Not surprisingly, the latter is implicated (at least in parts) as the root cause of the earlier DNAA (version 1.0) way back on April 1 through a series of U-turns, big time. It is unethical because it subjected millions of youth and children to be exposed to a life-threatening situation intentionally.

It resulted in the Delisting of Nicotine Amounting to Acceptance (DNAA 1.0) which drew shock and anger on several fronts when the future of youth is placed on the altar to be sacrificed by widely exposing them to the (ab)use of a well-known highly addictive substance, called nicotine.

More specifically, it is made readily available for use in vapes instantly rendering it as ‘acceptable,’ creating a ‘new’ normal.

Despite the addiction threshold as severe as that of killer substance, heroin; overnight nicotine, following the delisting, turned ‘harmless’ like that of chewing gums or soda    water. They are available to all and sundry at almost all outlets nationwide.

The underaged teenagers can access it without any legal prohibition any more. Thus, expanding far and wide, the deadly effects of nicotine used in vapes as a myriad of related products enlarged the list of safe and healthy consumables.

Prior to the tragic decision, the situation is totally the reverse, because nicotine is strictly kept under lock and key away from many; notably those below age 18! In stark contrast, currently, it is free for all including in school compounds, once strictly out of bound.

A highly punishable offence too, if violated. Now, no more; for about six months today     and counting, with hundreds of abuse cases reported daily, and the sufferings thereof. In a wink of the eye, the numbers have multiplied many folds since April 1, befitting fools!

When compared to the DNAA 2.0, the 1.0 version is hardly taken seriously among the politicians who are disinterested due the low political mileage, despite warnings from the World Health Organization that it will invariably breed the next cohort of potential addicts, like never before.

The only ‘addictive’ behaviour that hogs the headlines are corruption-based of the DNAA   2.0 kind, to the extent that it spurred large peaceful assemblies, and heated (un)parliamentary uncouth outcry.

Of late another form of ‘addiction’ that raised eyebrows emerged from the Economic minister’s recent observation on Malaysians habits’ of eating outside the house as observed. The minister, however, has said nothing about the impact of DNAA 1.0 on the economy following the delisting fiasco.

Similarly, the complete silence from the Minister of Youth and Sports as far as the life-and-death issue of the youth is concerned.  Same goes for the Minister of Health who is now being sued for her part in sparking the entire ‘foolish’ affair on April 1.

However, this is not to say the predicament cannot be quickly resolved if they show genuine interest. It is utterly simple – namely to relist nicotine back into the Poisons List under the Poisons Act 1952, just like it was swiftly bulldozed out!

Provided of course one is not (politically) ‘addicted’ to and corrupted by power, ego and fame as it is happening today! Otherwise, the nation, especially the younger generation, has to pay a high price indeed. Including their life.


  • The writer is Rector, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM)

BacalahMalaysia Team

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