Gay sex clips affair a chance for PH to prove no double standards

Pictures and videos of an individual resembling a federal minister involved in homosexual activities were recently shared on WhatsApp.

They immediately set tongues wagging and became the talk of the town.

Some dismissed them as nothing more than dirty politics. They said with high tech, such pictures and videos could easily be doctored, simulated and manipulated. And with gutter politics taking centre stage in Malaysian politics, such slander, lies and deception have become an ugly norm.

Police reports on the alleged scandal were soon lodged by concerned citizens including Umno leaders. Deputy police chief Mazlan Mansor said the police would check the authenticity of the pictures and video clips.

Then, 27-year-old Haziq Aziz, private secretary to deputy minister Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin, confessed that he was one of the two men in the gay sex videos. He said the sexual acts took place at Hotel Four Points in Sandakan.

He also swore that the other person was Mohamed Azmin Ali. He urged the MACC to investigate the case.

Azmin denied the allegation, calling it “vicious libel” and a “nefarious plot” to kill his political career.

Hours later, more sex videos surfaced.

Not only does Haziq’s confession add a new twist to the story, it has significant implications.

Yesterday, he resurfaced and said there had been more sex romps with Azmin. He lamented how his sworn confession was dismissed by the prime minister and the government, which he said made him question the sincerity of Pakatan Harapan (PH) in pursuing reforms.

“You even have the prime minister pledging his full support before any formal investigation had been done. I hope the public will see you as who you truly are – manipulative and having immense influence all together with your henchmen Hilman, Afif, Zuraida and the rest of your inner circle that are motivated by greed and power,” he wrote.

Azmin was handpicked by Dr Mahathir Mohamad to helm a senior Cabinet post. The prime minister has also shown great faith and confidence in him.

Mahathir, in denying knowledge of the sex videos and lewd photos, asked for more credible evidence. He said Haziq’s confession was a deliberate act to serve a political agenda.

Anwar Ibrahim and PKR leaders have condemned the “scurrilous attack” on Azmin. Many NGOs too have done the same.

This developing scandal is not good for the PH government and PKR. It makes people sick having to deal with one controversy or scandal after another. It seems there is no end to the problems within PH, many of which are self-inflicted.

People are already questioning the effectiveness of the PH government in bringing about change and reform. Approval ratings for Mahathir and PH have plummeted steadily over the last few months and unless this decline of support is quickly addressed, the government will face a serious problem at the next election.

For Mahathir, the onus is now on him to show decisive leadership in dealing with the issue.

Understandably, he has to deal with this latest controversy with the impartiality expected of a leader who places the quest for truth and justice paramount over anything else.

It is even more challenging for Mahathir to deal with this new problem, coming hot on the heels of Latheefa Koya’s controversial appointment to MACC.

While the reaction from Anwar and PKR are understandable and in perfect order, people are aware of the testy relationship between him and Azmin in the tussle for influence at the top.

Both factions have to deal with the matter with wisdom so that it does not end up as another face-off between them.

Justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done. The police must quickly investigate the case. They must do it without fear or favour, free from interference from political masters and uninfluenced by any political quarters.

They must show the highest standard of professionalism and strict adherence to their standard operating procedures.

If there is a case, then present a good investigation paper to the attorney-general. Otherwise, the case will be closed and labelled “No Further Action”.

The facts of the case must be disclosed to the public to convince them that it has been thoroughly investigated, without any attempt of cover-up as was endemic under the previous administration.

The truth must be told, and unvarnished facts must be revealed.

Let the public evaluate from the results of the investigations whether it is a case of dirty politics or dirty sex.

Unlike some Western countries, gay sex and sodomy are a crime in Malaysia. The same-sex relations depicted in the video have drawn comparisons with other similar cases in the past. In the past, such cases were mercilessly pursued not only because they were crimes, but also because they were abhorrent in Islam.

If indeed there is case against Azmin, then he should be subjected to the same due process of law. There should be no double standards in the dispensation of justice.

If there is no truth to the allegations against Azmin, then the dark clouds hanging over his head should be cleared, and his good name and reputation restored.

He has to be vindicated as a politician and leader destined for better things and greater glory ahead. And the perpetrators behind the heinous agenda must be brought to book.

Wan Haron Wan Hassan is a senior practising lawyer.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.