Written by Wong Choon Mei, Politics Now!
KUALA LUMPUR (Politics Now!) – Another same-sex scandal has thrown Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s embattled administration on the ropes, threatening to erase the goodwill and glory he had hoped to gain from a high-profile trip to the U.S..
In San Francisco for the Apec meeting, Anwar’s office had announced a packed schedule of events around which they had hoped to build for him an ‘incomparable’ reputation on the international stage to impress the domestic audience and stem the slide in his political popularity. But it was not to be.
Instead the attention of Malaysians zoomed in on the sexual shenanigans involving a senior appointee – Dr Muhammad Agus Yusoff, the head of a government propaganda unit J-KOM, who was caught on video allegedly having a lewd conversation with a junior officer.
“If true, how many more are there appointed to political positions who are confused about their sexual identity?” asked Chegubard, a fierce Anwar critic.
Agus has resigned abruptly but insists there was no impropriety, claiming the video was “doctored” and while it was him, it was not his voice that appeared on the clip. His officer Abdul Wahab Abdul Kadir, who is also the deputy chief of a youth division in Anwar’s PKR party, has admitted to recording their video phone call but incredulously claims he did so “without audio”.
“Agus not only presented Wahab but also confirmed the authenticity of the video. Wahab admitted to recording it, but without audio. The excuse for a video call without audio is amusing,” the NST reported Chegubard as saying.
LEWD EXPOSE GETS EVEN ‘HOTTER’
The video has gone viral, becoming even ‘hotter’ after Agus and Wahab held a joint press conference to offer their side of the story, dragging in a mysterious third figure “Mr H” whom they blamed for bribing Wahab to secretly record the clip.
According to controversial blogger Raja Perta Raja Kamarudin, “Mr H” is purportedly Muhamad Hakim Ramlee, also a staff at J-KOM and a part of Anwar’s PKR party.
“Congratulations Mr. H, the producer for the ‘J-Kom sex in the office scandal’. Best Malaysian movie Twin Towers award,” Raja Petra wrote on X.
Hakim has denied Raja Petra’s accusation. “I think…it’s not me. He maybe confused me with someone else. I can’t give further views on this and I was advised not to. But I deny.”
PKR INFIGHTING & ANWAR’S OWN PAST
Nonetheless, controversy, shock and unease over the scandalous revelations rage on, raising the spectre of Anwar’s own debacles and past same-sex convictions. It also adds more question marks on the credibility of his PKR party, seen to be weakest in the ruling coalition.
The shenanigans shed a light on infighting that appears to have gone out of control as PKR finally ensconces itself in the corridors of power, with its president the head of the government.
“If Mr. H exists and has committed a crime, how much did he offer to pay Wahab to record and how much has Muhammad Agus paid Wahab to confess?” Chegubard said.
“Agus seems to be employing the three strategies of Anwar (Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim) when caught; deny, accuse others and confuse the public.”
MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS AMID RISING DOMESTIC WOES
Indeed, the explanations offered by the government as well as the players involved in the video raise more questions than answers.
Anwar has yet to respond to the latest scandal, while his Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil, also part of his massive entourage to San Francisco, tried to distance the government from Agus.
“We extend our thanks, and that individual now does not have any links with the government or J-Kom,” Fahmi told the Malaysian press there.
“I have yet to speak to the prime minister regarding this matter. I believe steps to fill the post will be taken as soon as possible.”
The minister’s response drew not only cackles but serious criticism, with many sarcastically asking why the sudden speed – when Anwar has yet to fill out the critically important post of Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister, following the tragic death of the incumbent Salahuddin Ayob some four months ago.
Struggling with wallet-crunching inflation and a ringgit that has fallen to its lowest level in history, many Malaysians have become disenchanted with Anwar and his Pakatan Harapan allies, DAP and Amanah.
Few of the reforms that he had promised voters have been acted on and many have accused him of failing to focus on his own country and blame him for not being a hands-on Finance Minister, a post he also gave himself, and putting more effort into reversing the slide in the economy.
Written by Wong Choon Mei, Politics Now!