SEVEN days before his alleged sexual tryst with a cabinet minister, the accuser, Haziq Abdullah Abdul Aziz, posted on Facebook a group photograph of him and PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at the cinema to watch Avengers: Endgame.
It was an apt movie title in the wake of Haziq’s shocker that his sex partner in the video was Economics Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.
The video was allegedly shot in a room in Four Points by Sheraton Sandakan from midnight to 2am on May 11, which was polling day for the Sandakan by-election.
Is it Azmin’s political endgame? Can he survive a sex scandal which he described as a nefarious plot ruin his reputation and political career?
It depends on how Azmin and PKR handle it, said political analyst Dr Abdul Latiff Mohd Ibrahim.
“But it appears that it cannot do much to dent his career except to stigmatise Azmin,” he said.
For James Chin, who is the director of the Asia Institute, University of Tasmania, the PKR deputy president will not survive if the allegation is true and he lost the support of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
On the day Haziq alleged that Azmin was the other man in the video, Dr Mahahtir gave solid backing to Azmin. He said the lewd videos implicating Azmin were “cooked up”.
“This is done by people who have political agendas,” he said on Wednesday night.
Universiti Utara Malaysia political science lecturer Kamarul Zaman Yusoff thinks it is difficult for Azmin to survive the sex video scandal even though there is no charge against him. He said the Haziq accusation was far different from the same allegation by Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan on Anwar in 2008.
“This allegation of Azmin Ali is far more serious because it is very detailed, accompanied by specific time, date and location. More importantly, this allegation is accompanied by videos, as well as conversations and written messages,” he said.
Why was Azmin the target of a nefarious plot?
Chin is not sure, saying the timing was interesting.
“Politically, it’s a quiet time so it is strange it is being released now. Even stranger – the partner confessed on Facebook. In all previous cases, the ‘partner’ went underground,” he said.
For Abdul Latiff, just like Anwar’s Sodomy 2.0 which involved Saiful, the nefarious plot is to put a hurdle in Azmin’s political career.
“In Sodomy 2.0, Anwar was successfully removed from active politics and jailed hence preventing him from leading the charge in GE14. Though, of course, whether he would have succeeded as had Tun Mahathir, is debatable,” he said.
Who is behind the sex video?
It is still early to tell, said Chin.
“But I know there is a plan and it is well executed. For example, they were ready for Azmin’s denial as the second video came out just hours after the denial. It means they were ready,” he said.
Abdul Latiff said it could only come from two sources – within the party or from the opposition. Though it appeared remote that the opposition was involved, he said.
He said Haziq, who is Santubong PKR youth chief, was the private secretary of Deputy Primary Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin, who is a high-ranking PKR leader. It is hard, he said, to deny that it was an enemy’s conspiracy.
From my hush-hush conversation with some PKR leaders, they point the nefarious plot to the camp opposing Team Azmin in PKR.
Just like the Avengers, they
said that there was a civil war in the party and it was split into
two - Team Captain America and Team Iron Man. They also feared that Thanos would snap his fingers and it would be “endgame” for their party.
We also chatted about how there was little public support for Haziq compared to Saiful. “Perhaps because in the Haziq video it looked like it was suka sama suka (consensual sex) whereas when Saiful described being sodomised, he sounded like he was in pain,” a PKR politician told me in a cafe in Kuala Lumpur.
On why a homosexual sex video was used to bring down a politician, Abdul Latiff said it was because some people still seem to think it works.
“At the outset, some people, despite not believing it, would still have doubts about the ‘character’ of the individual targeted,” he said.
But Abdul Latiff felt that after more than two decades of this tactic, its usefulness had diminished drastically. People, he said, were fed up of this kind of attacks on political figures.
“Maybe people will start to joke at the beginning of each new year – who is next on the list of “liwat” (sodomy)?” he said.
The tactic, said Chin, was used as in Malay community, gay behaviour is not tolerated.
“In fact, some Malays consider gay behaviour worse than murder! So, it is very effective among conservative Malays. If the video had been a girl, the reaction would have been different,” he said.
“There are double standards – if it’s a man and woman, people will cry adultery and say bad husband but can forgive. But for homosexual and lesbian affair - no way.”
Will the government go after Haziq, the accuser, and those behind him?
The govt should act to put a stop to this nonsense, said Abdul Latiff. Perhaps existing legislation can be amended to specifically cater for this type of gutter politics, he said.
“It’s important to get at those behind this cowardly act,” he said.
Chin said it would depend on the SB (Special Branch).
“This sort of thing happened before. SB investigates but never tell the public what the results are. The most blatant case was DP Vijandran case, who was an ex-deputy speaker. The police destroyed the tapes,” he said.
Three days after the video clips were shared on WhatsApp groups, the police arrested Haziq to facilitate investigation on four offences. He was in KLIA on his way to Manila.
With the Prime Minister solidly behind Azmin, it might be “endgame” for Haziq, the accuser and those involved in the nefarious plot.