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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Between DP Vijandran & Someone Resembling Anwar Ibrahim



Zaid Ibrahim

A friend advised me not to comment any further about that sex scandal video. My already diminishing popularity will plummet further, he said. He went on to say that no one would believe that Anwar was the person involved anyway. Needless to say, it was something that riled me up a bit.

I have never been involved in public issues for popularity. To get involved would be because I think it’s in the interests of the public for me to do so. When Dr Mahathir acted against the Rulers and curtailed their immunity, I supported him even when the UMNO rank and file was deeply divided on the issue. I believed that even Rulers had to be responsible for their actions. There was widespread media coverage across the newspapers while I was lambasted by many quarters within the party. When no Malay politician dared to speak out against PAS enacting Hudud Laws, I did just that and challenged the legality of the laws in the Federal Court. Under Pak Lah’s administration, when almost the entire Cabinet opposed my proposal to compensate the sacked judges, I persisted through for the cause, and with the help of Pak Lah, we managed to help them. I have proven many times over that I never shy away from important issues when it’s in the public interest to do so, even if they are controversial and unpopular.

I bring your attention back to this video issue again because the public has been sidetracked by supposedly "clever" arguments, but ones which are totally irrelevant to the issues that are central to the subject. A notable professor recently lambasted the disclosure as “dirty politics" and an invasion of privacy. Now, which part of the disclosure is deemed to be “dirty politics”? If the video is proven to be fake, then yes, it’s dirty politics all right. But if the video is proven to be genuine—do we still call it “dirty politics”? How much privacy is a public figure entitled to have? In my opinion, it ends when he or she is caught. That is how far it goes.

A certain lawyer described the incident as private acts between consenting adults and brushed off the issue somewhat nonchalantly. Many are also angry with Rahim Thamby Chik's involvement. All of this and many more are prepared to ignore the larger and more crucial issue: the question of who was involved in the video? The hatred for the alleged video makers compels them to ignore the more important question. Malaysiakini has devoted lots of space on their website for supplementary issues such as whether the Whistleblower Act should protect the video maker. Or whether they should be prosecuted for showing obscene publications. Not a single passage to stress the importance of credibility, integrity and morality of top leaders. Or what they should do if caught in such scandals.

Even some women's rights advocates have gotten involved. This is something that I find truly puzzling, for they seem to have lost sight of reality. They seem to have missed the part that here is an individual engaging in a criminal act by soliciting the services of a prostitute. More so when it is supposedly one of our so-called leaders. Someone whose duty and responsibility it is to look out for those in such situations rather than take advantage of them. I find it perplexing and appalling that none of these groups have seen it fit to look at this scandal from the perspective of those they are supposedly striving to protect.

How things have conveniently changed in this country! In 1989, when DP Vijandran (then Deputy Speaker) was caught also in a sex video situation, the Opposition insisted for the tape to be shown to Members of Parliament. Interestingly, there was no talk of "dirty politics" or the invasion of privacy or prosecuting the video maker then, the kind of rhetoric that we hear now. Although he was with his girlfriend (and not a prostitute), there were loud calls for him to resign. And finally, he did resign.

In 1961, England, when John Profumo, a British politician and Minister had sex with a high-class call girl by the name of Christine Keeler, he too resigned. However, the newspapers that leaked the story were not accused by the British public as dabbling in dirty politics. When the American magazine disclosed that Gary Hart, the Presidential Candidate, was having an affair (whilst married), the public did not raise a hue and cry aboutthe invasion of privacy, so important a right to the Americans. This is because they expect their leaders tohave some moral standing and the morality issue supersedes everything else. Impressive for a country that has no state religion. And even in Japan, a certain Minister was simply seen in the 'red light area’. He was not even caught in the act. But he, too, had to resign.

In Malaysia, Opposition political leaders are a lucky lot. Malaysiakini and its readers particularly, are more interested in the other questions, for e.g., who did it and why? Are they UMNO leaders? It can’t be genuine if Rahim Thamby Chik is involved—surely the police tampered and doctored the tape? Why was it released so close to the Sarawak elections? Then there were also proclamations that it is not an offence under the Penal Code. In Islam, we apparently cannot shame people caught in private acts, according to these respected scholars. So why the fuss over a video? In other words, to them, this is not a big issue. Not even close.

This is my last word on this massive scandal.

1 comment:

  1. Endless bed drama..in malasie history..malay"s..fuckiiiing story, i purely remembered mr. goraphur tol me, drilling this backside asshole is more thrillngs than front hole, ones will intact luxurious experiences..

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