Sex, sleaze and scandals in Malaysia

Gutter politics! Showing pornography on social media or leaking it to news outlets is a favourite tool that has been used time and again to bring down political opponents in Malaysia.

Gutter politics is also a distraction from more important issues like rising prices, the economy, the homeless, the environment, the divisions in society and rising crime.

The use of gutter politics shows us that the originators lack imagination. They know that in conservative Malaysia, sex sells.

We may not be able to hold hands in public, but we go wild-eyed over a bit of sleaze on social media.

We censor and blank out images of scantily clad women in books and magazines, but parents have no idea or control over what their children view on the internet.

We may be known throughout the world as a prudish nation, but our sense of values has been thrown out of proportion.

We do not allow sex education in schools because many parents and teachers claim that the information will encourage free sex. We chastise our women for dressing in skimpy clothing, but on the east coast which is run along conservative lines, the internet viewing of hard-core porn is the highest in Malaysia.

We have successfully passed a bill to lower the voting age to 18, but if we reflect on the state of politics in Malaysia, MPs who use gutter politics are politically immature.

These politicians lust for power and do not mind damaging the reputations of others, causing harm to the families of those involved, or hurting innocent people like the wife and children of the person concerned.

The only purpose of gutter politics is to make people question the character of the victim and consider his suitability for the role he plays in public life. Gutter politics is defamatory and, at the press of a button, video clips can paint a person in a different light. Few will then remember his good points, his achievements or his public service.

This is the intention of gutter politics: to mislead and misinform voters by painting an inaccurate picture.

Whoever uploaded the videos had only one thing in mind: to end the political career of the person in question. He is aware that gutter politics works. In Malaysia, one can rape a maid, rape a young child and gang-rape teenagers, and probably get away with a rap on the knuckles.

There have been many reports of sexual harassment by those in public office, those who should protect us like policemen, teachers, senior politicians and those who should know better, like the ulama.

The one sex act that appears to work in destroying a politician is buggery. For some reason, that sexual act is more abhorrent than any other sexual crime.

In 2009, Anwar Ibrahim, was charged in the High Court with sodomising his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, the year before. He was tried again in 2010 and 2011 and acquitted in January 2012. However, in March 2014, his acquittal was overturned by the Court of Appeal and he was jailed for five years after the Federal Court upheld the guilty verdict.

Anwar knows the long protracted battle connected with these convictions. Most people probably think that what happens between two consenting adults in the bedroom should be between them, and not a topic for public consumption or discussion – but this is Malaysia.

When will Malaysians change their mindset and demand that our politicians prevent sleaze from dominating our politics and the procedures of Parliament?

The IGP has already said that investigating the emergence of these sex videos has wasted a lot of police time and resources. The services of the police are best used to fight crime, and they should not be used for political point-scoring or settling old, or current, scores.

Politicians must grow up and stop using gutter politics.

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