Editorial: Game of Thrones ala Malaysia

By Fathol Zaman Bukhari

Minister of Economic Affairs and possible Mahathir’s heir apparent, Azmin Ali, could either be a bisexual or a homosexual. Whatever his sexual preference is, it is unacceptable in a conservative Muslim society like Malaysia. And should his widely-publicised sexual escapade in a Sandakan hotel is proven true, his political career and goody-goody image will definitely take a beating. And his PM-wannabe moniker will dissipate.

Following the circulation of a same-sex video clip, through WhatsApp, speculation has been rife about the motive and the individual(s) behind the admission by Muhammad Haziq Abdul Aziz that he was the other man in the gay sex romp with Minister Azmin Ali, the blue-eyed boy of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

It was rumoured that the video had the tacit approval of Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s president. It is unwise to assume so due to his rivalry with Azmin, a keen supporter once. If indeed he is the culprit, he is in for trouble.

The only reason Anwar could possibly have wanted to erase his once favourite protégé Azmin’s political career is the many excuses by Mahathir and his refusal to set a timetable to hand over the premiership, despite many closed-door discussions. Such an argument has been pooh-poohed by pundits.

Nonetheless, it is speculated that nobody would dare to pull such a stunt except for Mahathir himself. After all, this is the same man who created the homosexual phenomenon in 1998 when he got his then deputy – Anwar Ibrahim – indicted for sodomy. With Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador now behind him, Mahathir has the clout to bring down Azmin should he decide to so.

Just because the PM had insisted the sex video was a fake does not mean that he is serious. Remember, this is the very guy who had backed his deputy 20 years ago only to make a U-turn at the eleventh hour and had him sacked soon after. But he decided to make amends with the same man when the odds were stacked against him. Their resolve to get rid of an irritating kleptocrat was what galvanised the two bitter enemies.

True, Mahathir appointed Azmin Ali as the powerful Economic Affairs Minister as part of his “divide and rule” strategy to keep Anwar in check. But that did not mean that he is treating Azmin differently.

Azmin’s performance as the economic affairs minister is nothing to shout about. He has done little to boost the country’s economy so far.

Yes, both Anwar Ibrahim and Mahathir Mohamad have their own reasons to finish off Azmin Ali’s political career. At best, Azmin’s meteoric rise must be stopped, at least temporarily. Azmin, is an opportunist, to boot.

It doesn’t matter whether the mastermind behind the disgusting gay sex video was Anwar Ibrahim, Mahathir Mohamad or someone from UMNO. The most important question is whether the video is real or fake. If the video is real, which seems the case so far, it won’t matter even if Anwar is found to be indirectly involved in this so-called gutter politicking.

Mahathir would be seen as a hypocrite for protecting “Azmin the Gay” when the premier had proudly rejected gays and lesbians when he declared that Malaysia will not recognise LGBT culture or same-sex marriage in the country as it does not subscribe to “Western values”. The elder statesman will also have difficulties explaining his support for Azmin now, but not Anwar in 1998.

Azmin Ali can put up a brave front but his reputation and integrity have taken a plunge. Azmin’s case is different from Anwar’s. Anwar’s sodomy allegations, in 1998 and subsequently in 2008, were poorly scripted political assassinations due to lack of strong evidence. Azmin’s gay sex allegation comes with the “unnatural sex” video clips as living proof.

Like it or not, Azmin Ali has lost the plot when he refused to sue his paramour, Haziq for not only exposing their sexual romp in a hotel room but accusing the minister as corrupt. Azmin has nobody but himself to blame.

Azmin had gotten incredibly arrogant upon being promoted as the economic affairs minister. He thought that with Mahathir’s patronage, he was invincible hence burning his bridge with Anwar.

Malaysia’s own Game of Thrones has just started. However, the script can be onerous and predicting the outcome of the show is definitely not for the impatient people like you and me.

Gutter Politics

Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s first prime minister was perhaps the only honest premier the country ever had. Tunku was a true leader of a multiracial and multi-religious country. Yet, he was brought down by gutter politics.

His deputy – Abdul Razak Hussein – orchestrated the May 13, 1969, racial riots with Selangor Menteri Besar, Harun Idris. The plan was to oust Tunku who was not keen on Razak and his Malay agenda. I had joined the army when May 13 erupted in Kuala Lumpur and had the misfortune of witnessing the carnage first-hand.

The dirty and gutter politics did not end after Razak “outmanoeuvred” Tunku following the 1969 riots. At its peak, Barisan Nasional consisted of 14 political parties. Yet, the so-called Malay unity did not last long. In 1977, PAS was kicked out from the BN fold following a tussle in Kelantan over the appointment of its Menteri Besar.

Ten years after PAS was booted out, UMNO was in trouble once again. Under Mahathir, a man whom Tunku Abdul Rahman labelled as one of those responsible for the 1969 riots, the party was split into Team-A and Team-B.

Anwar Ibrahim, co-founder of the Muslim Youth Movement (ABIM) was lured by Mahathir to join UMNO in 1982. Wealth and power were simply too tempting. Anwar’s meteoric rise was rudely disrupted in 1998.

Already, the then deputy prime minister and finance minister, he challenged Mahathir over how to handle Malaysia’s economy, which was under pressure following the 1997-98 Asian Financial Crisis. Mahathir sacked Anwar over allegations that he was involved in corruption and “unnatural sex” – sodomy. So, dirty and gutter politics were all over the place again.

Najib Razak was appointed 6th Prime Minister of Malaysia after Mahathir pressured Badawi to resign in 2009. But Najib was worse than Badawi. He and his wife, Rosmah, are alleged to have skimmed billions from the national coffers.

Politics is the main staple of the Malays. They eat, live and breathe politics. Politics is to the Malays what business is to the Chinese. But unlike in the business world, where one can complement each other, the same cannot be said about Malay politics. PPBM, PKR, Amanah, UMNO, PAS and whatnot are fighting for the same market share, spilling over into each other’s turf.

Since the Malays are never into business, their ticket to instant wealth and power is via politics. If you think an innocuous “blow job” behind closed doors is dirty, wait till you hear how some supposedly holy men declare “lies” as “Shariah-compliant” so that they could continue hoodwinking their Muslim brethren. Try asking the non-sinner Hadi Awang where he got his RM90 million donation from? Obviously, it did not fall from the sky.

C’est la vie.

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