Dangerous times for Mahathir, Anwar and Azmin

The police’s failure to bring the gay videos episode allegedly involving Mohamed Azmin Ali to a satisfactory conclusion has caused a lot of collateral damage to many parties unrelated to it.

The people too are getting sucked into this gutter politics.

Anwar Ibrahim has been steadfast in his support of his deputy by insisting that nobody should prejudge the issue until the police complete their investigations.

But Anwar said if Azmin were the other “actor”, then he should resign. We could see that Anwar was just trying to maintain an upright position in the issue knowing very well that people are assessing his sense of justice and fair play as it concerns someone deemed to be very close to him.

Anwar did not make any legal or moral judgement, but left it entirely to the police and Azmin to deal with it.

Azmin, probably feeling abandoned by Anwar, has retorted by asking Anwar to look in the mirror, whatever he means by it.

Suddenly the twists and turns to the story are becoming uglier. Anwar, Azmin, PKR and PH are embroiled in a family fight.

The enemies outside and within are having a fun time. At last, a way to create a wedge between the two leaders. Some puppet masters behind the scenes somewhere are having a gleeful time that the plots and sub-plots to the drama are now unfolding according to script.

Many other fringe players are also jumping onto the bandwagon as they try to complete their respective sinister agendas.

Yes, that is how it will shape out to be if Anwar and Azmin were to allow the destructive and dark forces to hold sway on events and developments.

But it should not be that way. Under no circumstances should Anwar and Azmin allow a very close, personal relationship and a political crusade between them that spanned a period of more than 40 years to flounder on a slight misunderstanding, misapprehension or injured feelings.

Anwar has said that he remains steadfast in his stand that the police should complete their investigations and that nobody should pressure Azmin to resign or take leave.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad too has taken a similar stand and position on the matter.

So there is no need for Anwar or Azmin and their supporters to cause further strain on both leaders and the party. Now is the time for cool heads to work together and protect the larger interest of the party.

Party stalwarts must remain united to defend the party from divisive forces.

Everybody in PKR knows too well how close Anwar is to Azmin.

In 1987, following Mahathir’s advice, Azmin started working for Anwar, then a minister in Mahathir’s government. Azmin served as Anwar’s personal and political secretary through Anwar’s tenure as deputy prime minister in 1993 until his dramatic sacking in 1998.

Azmin remained close to Anwar after the dismissal, both founding the party that is now known as PKR.

Both have gone through trials and tribulations together, facing the oppressive political prosecution and persecution under successive prime ministers – Mahathir, Abdullah Badawi and Najib Razak.

They had to suffer anguish and humiliation when their personal and family lives were brought under close scrutiny, with lies, slander and deceit spilled all over the media and in court.

All these were done in an attempt to destroy their reputations and the fledgling opposition.

While Anwar was in jail, it was Azmin and Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail holding the fort and keeping the spirit of “reformasi” alive.

There is no denying that Azmin was destined for bigger things. He got elected as a state assemblyman, then as MP, later becoming the menteri besar of Selangor, and now as the powerful economic affairs minister.

Despite conspiracy theories surrounding his sudden elevation, including suggestions that he is being groomed as the next PM, it is well known that Anwar would be the one to succeed Mahathir after he calls it a day.

Under Anwar’s premiership, there will always be a special place and position for Azmin. In my reckoning, next to Muhyiddin Yasin as a deputy PM under the power-sharing equation within PH, Azmin is the next key figure that comes to mind.

We know too well that Anwar has always been protective of Azmin. Ezam Mohd Noor found out to his dismay that Anwar would always support Azmin when it comes to the crunch.

Many got ousted from Anwar’s inner circle over their differences with Azmin. Even Wan Azizah is aware that Anwar has always regarded Azmin a dear brother. Many within the inner chambers of PKR have to work within the ambit of such constraints.

Now the police have revealed that the said videos are authentic although they are unable to confirm or determine who the actors were. It looks like we are coming to some kind of closure to the case. At least that is how it looks.

The findings made by the police will not make everybody happy. And given the earlier findings made by other forensic experts, it is bound to be challenged by some unhappy parties. The police’s credibility and integrity will likewise be challenged.

Already some parties from Umno have brought the said videos to Jakarta for in-depth analysis by forensic experts there.

The fallout from the latest disclosures by the police remains to be seen. But it would be naive for us to expect that the matter will now be treated as “case closed”.

Given the state of political dynamics of the nation with many stakeholders having their own agenda, we can expect more new twists and turns to the story.

But at least for Mahathir, Anwar, Azmin and their respective supporters, it has given them the legitimacy to treat the matter as over, and to close ranks and move on with the management of the nation.

Now is the time for sober heads to take over and rule the day.

Now is the time for Anwar, Azmin and PKR to move forward, away from gutter politics that has engulfed the nation for so long.

Mahathir, as the elder statesman too, should help bring the matter to a proper ending.

In this context, the people should take comfort from the fact that there are positive developments in the issue.

All’s well that ends well.

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