IGP on sex video: Saying enough, without saying much


THE saga of the footage of a person resembling Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali engaged in sexual activities with another man seems to be having a longer shelf life than initially thought.

We keep adding fuel to keep the issue hot and spicy, where headlines are dominated by questions of the validity of the footage, the sexual orientation of a senior minister and a power struggle within PKR where conservatively taboo gay sex is being used to end Azmin’s political career – just as it was used to all but destroy Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s 21 years ago.

While Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has chosen to remain coy about the matter and leave the matter to the police, Anwar’s supporters cannot help but wonder if this is karma paying Dr Mahathir a visit after he sacked Anwar as deputy prime minister in 1998 over similar allegations.

In a time that is more tolerant of LGBTQ issues, one would guess that many younger Malaysians would wonder what the big deal is; as long as once can serve the nation with integrity and professionalism.

However, for a country that is built on conservative Asian values, coupled with a Penal Code which makes sodomy a crime – it is obvious that sex is the weapon of choice to kill someone’s character.

Those who use sex as a political weapon play on society’s general primal fixation on our leaders’ sexual exploits than their ability to administer the country.

It also does not help that institutions such as the police seem to be playing a role in prolonging the issue with the Inspector-General of Police’s statement on the outcome of the investigations into the authenticity of the footage depicting Santubong PKR Youth chief Haziq Abdullah Abdul Aziz engaged in sexual acts with another man who resembles Azmin.

Instead of issuing a statement after investigations have been concluded, IGP Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador left the matter hanging, saying that while CyberSecurity Malaysia has verified the authenticity of the video footage, facial recognition was inconclusive, hence the individuals in the footage could not be positively identified.

To Azmin’s supporters it is a disservice to their man as there is a huge doubt hovering over Azmin – who is seen as a potential prime minister in the near or not too near future.But Abdul Hamid also volunteered the following information: that the video is part of “an evil conspiracy” led by the leader of a political party to damage the reputation of an individual.

While his name was not mentioned, Abdul Hamid’s remarks will put Anwar on the defence. After all, his political secretary Farhash Wafa Salvador Rizal Mubarak is in police custody as part of investigations into who filmed and distributed the video.

More importantly, if Abdul Hamid is not cautious with his public remarks in this case, he and most significantly the police force stand to be accused of being a political tool in the real or imagined leadership tussle between Anwar and Dr Mahathir’s supposed preferred successor, Azmin.

Anwar’s black eye courtesy of then IGP Tan Sri Rahim Noor was also a black eye to the force, where the incident, to an extent, confirmed long-held beliefs that the police too had its political masters.

How many times have the police kept mum because “investigations were ongoing” in other cases? While Abdul Hamid cautioned that he could not say more out of concern that his words would be used in any ensuing trial, he had said enough.

His inference was enough for the public to draw a conclusion implicating the PKR president and create uncertainty into a succession plan that was meant to bring stability and certainty to a country that is still reeling from the financial impact of the global economic downturn and the looting of public funds via 1MDB.

It will cause “unrest among the public” – which Abdul Hamid ironically cited when announcing the latest findings.

If indeed he has justification to make this remark, he must then have the justification to arrest this political party leader, leaving the conclusion of his involvement to be drawn by a court of law, following the tendering of evidence by the prosecution.

Malaysians are fed up of gutter politics, and with this latest episode ,the people feel their trust and votes are being squandered by petty politicians who seem to forget that they are now running the country.

And this includes Azmin and Anwar – our prime ministerial hopefuls – who are taking unproductive potshots at each other over this scandal.

In the same vein, much hope had been placed on Abdul Hamid as a principled officer who had paid the price after being transferred to the Prime Minister’s Department, for standing his ground and pursuing investigations on the 1MDB affair.

One hopes that he does not do his stellar reputation a disservice by saying things that makes one wonder if he is upholding the law or is playing the pawn in a political chess game that some of his predecessors had been accused of.

Terence Fernandez is a former senior editor at several English newspapers who is presently a media consultant.


   

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