GOMBAK — June 21, 2019: They do not know when it happened but the besmirching of an imposing billboard starring their parliamentarian, Datuk Seri Mohamad Azmin Ali, has convinced some here that the drama dogging him will not blow over anytime soon.
The billboard that featured Azmin and Gombak Setia assemblyman Muhammad Hilman Idham in matching light blue Baju Melayu was marred with a derision concerning Azmin’s “gay sex controversy.”
“Azmin ❤ Haziq,” read the red-coloured ridicule jeer that was spray painted on the billboard. It was an obvious jab at the alleged romp that Azmin and Santubong PKR youth chief Muhammad Haziq Abdul Aziz had on May 11.
“I thought that there will be less politicking after last year’s general election, but boy, was I wrong. This drama, I’d reckon will last more than a month,” quipped a worker of a nearby furniture store who only wanted to be known as Jaya.
Twenty kilometres away from the billboard, a related jab at Azmin was visible on a white banner printed with the word ‘Kalau ada maruah, Azmin letak jawatan’ (If he has dignity, Azmin must resign) which was placed along a pedestrian overpass above Jalan Syed Putra, just next to the Mid Valley shopping mall.
Why Azmin was targeted was never specifically stated. The only explanation from him was that, some were likely jealous of his promising political growth.
The talk on the ground however, was reverberating with tête-à-tête that the controversy was to stem Azmin’s supposed rise as a prime minister candidate.
Jaya and a banana fritters hawker from Greenwood street vendors square, Kamarul Zulpisli, believed that the gutter politics acted onto Azmin was likely done by his detractors in PKR, the party which he serves as a deputy president.
“If it was Umno, they would have done it when election is looming, not now. Besides, even Azmin himself is certain that this is an inside job and I tend to believe him because this is not the first time PKR openly washes its dirty linens,” said Kamarul.
He was referring to the infamous Kajang Move which was political maneuver that was initiated by PKR to remove Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim from his Selangor menteri besar post in 2014.
Open infighting was also rife during PKR’s party polls last year, particularly concerning Azmin’s rivalry with Rafizi Ramli for the deputy president post.
Azmin won the contest but Rafizi, despite being the loser was appointed by party president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to be a vice-president.
But back then, the supposed rifts cracking within PKR was not as noticeable as it was today.
The ongoing drama has even split PKR’s Youth Wing into two factions after the party decided to not immediately sack Haziq despite his confession to having gay sex.
Vice Youth Chief Mohd. Nazree Mohd Yunus had, two days ago, said that PKR Youth disagreed with the party’s decision to retain Haziq and warned that the party should not be used to safeguard the interest of any individual or family.
However, the party wing’s secretary Ahmad Syukri Che Ab Razab yesterday rubbished Nazree’s remarks, pointing out that the latter’s view was personal and that it does not represent the real position of PKR youth.
“PKR Youth believes that the decision made by party regarding the gay sex controversy is most appropriate. We call for every member to respect the decision and focus their efforts in implementing the reform agenda,” read Ahmad Syukri’s statement.
Anwar has given Haziq 14-days to respond to a show-cause letter over his involvement in a matter that could tarnish the image of the party but some PKR leaders have deemed the decision as too lenient.
“Chegubard went against Azmin. Said some pretty damning stuff too and the party did not hesitate to sack him. Why Haziq seems to get special treatment?” quipped a senior PKR leader who wanted anonymity.
He was referring to the sacking of former PKR central committee member Badrul Hisham Shahrin, also known as Chegubard, who was axed in 2016 after he accused Azmin of corruption.
Party vice-president Zuraida Kamaruddin has also criticised the decision to not immediately sack Haziq, describing it as an “unwise verdict” given the damage that the latter had inflicted onto PKR.
It has been two weeks since the drama started and judging from the third video that was released on Wednesday, political analyst Dr Azmi Hassan was of the opinion that things will get nastier by the day.
“The controversy will not subside until either Azmin gets the upper hand or vice versa. So far, neither is happening since he is still going about his responsibilities as if nothing happened,” said Dr Azmi.
On Wednesday, a new Whatsapp chat group was formed, which included dozens of journalists and PKR leaders.
Many however, immediately exited the group after lambasting the administrator -who used Anwar’s picture as the default photo- as they suspected that the group was to be used to spread more sex videos. Among them were PKR vice-presidents Fuziah Salleh and Tian Chua.
Later that night, prominent Pakatan Harapan supporter, Hishamuddin Rais said another sex video of similar nature to the one causing the latest scandal within PKR will be released next week.
“Do you want to know when the video from Indonesia will be revealed? Wait, next week,” wrote Hishamuddin in his column at a local news site.