by SHAMSUL AKMAR / pic by TMR FILE PIX
IF ANYONE wants to deduce what the widely discussed and viewed sex video represented, one possible suggestion could be that the political hunting season is “officially” open.
While it may be argued that in Malaysia, political hunting is a year-round affair, this hunt seems targeted with specific intent.
And why is Minister of Economic Affairs Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali (picture) the target?
The popular opinion is that he is enjoying a lot of goodwill from Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, causing jealousy, if not outright insecurity, within the Pakatan Harapan ranks.
Apart from that, he would have created a lot of enemies when defending his deputy presidency in the acrimonious PKR party polls last year.
There are attempts to link the episode with the vanquished Umno, especially when one of their supreme council leaders had shown much resourcefulness and commitment to spread the video and the issue as wide and far.
However, if there’s any link, opinions are that the Umno link or links are mere opportunists or being used by forces from the opposing side gunning for Azmin.
Another opinion is that this is a retaliation to the appointment of Latheefa Koya to the nation’s top anti-corruption agency’s position, which had courted much controversy, apart from the popular belief that she is in Azmin’s corner.
Again, if this was the case, then the initiative came from within the ruling coalition’s circle and not from outside.
Of course, the issue of whether the videos were doctored or otherwise will continue to be debated, but Azmin has denied it outright despite the “confession” by the “partner”.
On top of that, with the confession coming from someone with numerous interesting ties and colourful past within the circle, it would — if not out rightly discrediting him — serve to affirm the opinion that it was an entrapment and he was a bait set-up for the political kill.
As of now, until and unless it can be convincingly and conclusively proven, Azmin’s denial stands.
Further to that, an adamant and consistent denial would go a long way as in the past it had worked well for equally, if not bigger, names caught in a similar compromising situation.
While the initial reactions stood in direct contrast, popular among them were expressions of disgust of what is being described as gutter politics.
In abundance were utterances of being nauseated with such attempts of political assassination that they insisted Malaysians were sick of.
But there were some opinions that the development should not be flippantly dismissed as gutter politics as a political figure deserved to be judged on all counts, including his morality.
To this, it was expressed that there was a need to determine whether the accusations levelled at Azmin were true or lies, in which, if they were true then Azmin obviously would not qualify to remain as a leader.
There are also those who find such revelations unacceptable, especially when it came from those without scruples and prepared to use such an issue to bring down a political opponent.
Apart from being Machiavellian to the core, it is abhorred because t hose exposing the immorality of the target are themselves as immoral, if not worst.
All these developments are actually not something Malaysians are unfamiliar with and they had been placed in almost similar situations before and it was then when political awakenings were realised, political leanings and allegiances were formed apart from determining the levels of moralities they impose or expect from political leaders.
This episode promises the same outcome and outputs albeit some new twists and turns which will keep many in the nation wanting to know more.
On the flip side, it was probably a distraction the Pakatan Harapan government doesn’t need as it grapples with the economic discomforts caused by the US-China escalating trade war which seems to cause havoc on almost every scale of commerce.
In many ways than not, it tests the year-old administration its resolve in facing such challenges.
If Dr Mahathir’s reaction is anything to go by, he is obviously unfazed by all these. That is, however, expected of him being the seasoned general that he is.
But the same can’t be said of the younger members of his administration. It may add more new schisms and distrusts as each tries to figure out what it all means and where it will lead to.
It is an issue that has so many layers and multi-faceted which may take some time for them to come close to figure out who is the real enemy within and how should they position themselves.
Some may think that it is time to be with the hunter or hunters. In a political hunting season, running with the hare and hunting with the hound is quite common.
The only discomfort is that they fear that the hunter may end up being hunted. No matter, the game is afoot.
- Shamsul Akmar is the editor at The Malaysian Reserve.