June 18, 2019.
Recollections & Reflections – A commentary by Aziz Hassan
IT was an allegation that got the country up and about but despite the potential ramifications to the actors, especially if one is holding a senior federal portfolio, it was something that should have been left to the back seat while the police and other agencies go about with their investigations but that hasn’t happened mainly for two reasons.
One is due to the many unnecessary and meaningless reactions by politicians and the other, the propensity for quotes by the local press, worthless though most may be. This unfortunately has been a uniquely Malaysian press culture since about 25 years ago, with editors hounding reporters for quotes from politicians, quotes that are thought to be so priceless and something the press can’t survive without.
And politicians being what they are want to be seen to always have something to say, although in a situation like the Haziq Abdullah sex video claims, what eventually will make a difference is what the investigators find.
You may have thought that after the initial shock of yet another allegation of sexual impropriety by a politician, the situation would have calmed down after a day or two but heck no, there has been one denial after another and comments that try to pre-empt developments.
There’s the Sabah PKR politician who held a press conference in Kuala Lumpur while trying his best to sound neutral but actually made comments that clearly showed he was not for Haziq. He even wanted us to believe that no politician of repute from his party in KL knew he was in town. Wow, all the way to the peninsula just to speak at one press conference when it’d have been much cheaper and convenient for him to organise that in his hometown.
There was also the Azmin aide who did his best to proclaim his boss’s innocence, MP Rafizi Ramli denying that he had anything to do with Haziq’s admission and above all PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim issuing not one but two statements also to deny that he or his boys had a hand in it.
Hadi of PAS went a step further to suggest foreign intervention….
PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang came out with something that outdid the rest when he suggested foreign involvement and there have been suggestions from others that the public admission was intended to do this and that, all kinds of theories offered.
Even former minister and now Pribumi Bersatu politician Tan Sri Rais Yatims thinks he too should give his two cents worth, claiming that “the cops already knew who had given Haziq the lighter to burn Azmin” and would have already informed Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. And yet it was only late yesterday that the cops announced the decision to form a multi-agency team to investigate, especially the authenticity of the video showing two men in a homosexual act.
That Rais didn’t offer any reasons or failed to articulate his opinion didn’t matter but that this came from someone many said was learned and a man usually careful with his words was a surprise because you honestly thought someone with such a reputation could do better.
While Haziq’s admission may have been an unwelcomed distraction to some, the reactions by the many politicians are the ones the country can do without, for what this does is to truly divert their focus, time and effort from much needed work to deal with the many issues facing the people. The Haziq affair should be left entirely to the investigators until there is finality or closure.
A latest reaction is the denial by Azmin’s office about a foreign news report confirming the authenticity of the video but one that clearly states that the experts could not be sure if indeed Azmin was one of the men in it. Not surprisingly that denial was without any proposition and like the other reactions mentioned, utterly premature.
There have been suggestions too that what Haziq said was part of a bigger political game intended to unseat Azmin, with indications that it’s due to the factionalism in PKR, of which Azmin is the number two.
What each of these characters who felt they had to say something should realise is if something did happen, no amount of denials will alter the situation. Neither would the investigators be interested to know about the likely conspiracy theories, for their focus is on whether the romp did take place and what charges could be filed against those involved. That and only that is what counts.
The downside to this affair, at least for now, is how it has exposed many of Malaysia’s politicians for what they are – not a group of wise and intelligent people – and because of this Malaysians will have to continue to contend with mediocrity.