July 18, 2019.
Recollections & Reflections – A commentary by Aziz Hassan
THERE’S only one word to describe what the country had seen in recent days and continues to see as all manner of politicians make all kinds of statements on what is essentially an uncomplicated issue. And that word is “messy”, which can mean untidy, extremely unpleasant or marked by confusion, disorder.
Choose one you prefer and it means the same thing.
The many statements made by the equally many politicians plus some investigators have only made the already murky initial situation worse and signs are that it’s not going to get any better soon, which points to lack of decisiveness and clear thinking at the highest leadership level.
It started with a video which went viral a few weeks ago, showing two men in a homosexual act, which led to one openly admitting that he was the man in the video. That by itself was not too bad, had former minister’s aide Haziq Abdullah Abdul Aziz left it at that.
But Haziq went a step further, alleging that Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali was the other man, which Azmin expectedly denied.
Subsequently the police had to come in, with the first statement saying that the video was being studied by experts to determine its authenticity, only for a more recent one to focus on those thought to have been responsible for viraling the video or videos, which means we may never find out the truth behind the claim by Haziq.
Despite the statements by police chief Datuk Seri Hamid Bador on findings by CyberSecurity, it appears that not many are convinced their experts could determine the video was authentic but could not ascertain the identities of the two actors, mind you despite all the technology available today.
Because the two main characters are linked to PKR, one recently sacked as a result while the other is the party number 2, the ramifications are affecting PKR negatively in a big way, further widening the divide between Azmin’s camp and that of its president and Azmin’s former immediate boss Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
If today’s development is any indication, it looks like Anwar’s grip on the party is eroding further – an unthinkable situation not too many years ago. In fact those were the days when not many dared to say anything even slightly resembling a mild criticism of Anwar.
Mahathir didn’t show neutrality
If the rivalry seen during the close contest between Azmin and Rafizi Ramli to be the deputy president some months ago was an unwelcomed indication of the split in the party, this present episode is much worse, especially when Prime Ministter Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has shown an obvious preference for Azmin, not the man he has repeatedly tried to assure Malaysians and the world will be his successor in one or two years’ time.
If in 1998 Mahathir had preempted the case against Anwar and moved swiftly to get Anwar out of the way, this time his position is the completely opposite, while also preempting by insisting that the video was a fake and that it’s all about a conspiracy to derail Azmin’s political career. What this means is that Mahathir has conveniently ignored the possibility that Haziq may have said the truth, whereas in 1998 he made it clear he thought Anwar was guilty even before he was charged. What a difference 21 years make……
You wonder too what Mahathir has to say if asked what his thoughts are now that we are tod CyberSecurity has at least confirmed the video to be authentic.
Remember too that during his first trial at that time, Anwar also brought up the allegation about a conspiracy by at least three persons known to be close to be with Mahathir but a point the court wasn’t interested in because even if there was, it wasn’t against the law.
Anyone invoking the same now should realise that any conspiracy by one or more politicians to oust another is never an unlawful idea so long as it is done through lawful means. At the highest level it becomes a case only if someone or a group of blokes are planning to oust a duly elected government via unlawful means. That would be treason – a crime against the state.
For Anwar, despite his public statements, many believe that his hand is somewhere in all this and the recent arrest of his political secretary adds drama to the case. That and the fact that Haziq had gone to the movies with him not many days before the young man was supposedly with Azmin somewhere.
But the entire situation could have been better handled if Mahathir had remained truly neutral and not made the preemptive statements. Because of what he kept on saying, many people began to anticipate what would happen next and Hamid’s statements plus that of his CID chief only clouds the situation instead of giving confidence to the people about the credibility of the police to remain independent.
That of course is a tough ask, given that virtually all the heads of major institutions in the country are appointed on the nomination and advice of only one man – the prime minister.