Backbiting is so widespread among people, politicians and their supporters in particular, that it has become the issue of people's meetings and an avenue for expressing their anger, misgivings and jealosy. Those who indulge in backbiting are hiding their own imperfections and harming others.
Backbiting and slandering are among the destructive major sins but unfortunately, it is the "in thing" among certain Malay/Muslim politicians, their hardcore supporters and sometimes among their spouses when nearing party elections or cabinet changes.
Backbiting and slandering are forbidden in Islam because they sow enmity, evils and discord among people and lead to destruction. They cause hostilities between people of the same household and between neighbours and relatives. But to those involved in backbiting and slandering, they could not care less about sins or what have you, as long as they achieved their greed and crooked ambitions.
Prior to the new cabinet line up in 2004, backbiting and slandering was at its peak and what surprised me was that wives of ministers were also involved. To each minister's spouse, her husband was the best candidate for the deputy prime ministership. One particular minister's wife, claiming that her husband was the closest and strongest ally of prime minister Abdullah Badawi, went overboard to criticise and belittle another minister's wife. The daughter of a policeman had nothing good to say of the other lady, whose husband eventually was picked to be the number two man in the government. After a few months of sour face and disappointment, she suddenly bercame a "good" friend of the same lady that was so bad and nasty in her previous vocabulary. Apart from backbiting and slandering, this particular lady took it upon herself to be the number two "boss" in her husband's ministry by interfering in certain aspects of office administration particularly those invoving her husband's aides.
To her, I would like to say that backbiting and slandering are shame and disgrace. May the Almighty have mercy on you.