In The Three Faces of Malaysia, I said:
"Because I foresee the next General Election is going to be the worst General Election in terms of utter madness and gutter politics. Mark my words. Zaid Ibrahim's photo-shopped picture with some bottles of brandy during the Hulu Selangor by-election would be chicken feed as compared to what will be forthcoming in the next GE."
The General Election has not been called yet. However, Malaysians have already been forced to swallow political toxic sludge this week. That takes the form of a video which apparently shows someone resembling Anwar Ibrahim having sex with a "woman of eastern" resemblance in a room somewhere in Pornsville.
First it was an Indian sex video. That was a long time ago. Then it was the Chinese politician's turn. And now, it is the Malay's turn, I suppose. As a Malay, I am troubled by the fact that, from the various reports I had read, the act lasted a mere 17 minutes.
Compare that to the Indian and Chinese videos. They lasted far longer. (Not that I had watched them lah. I am writing this based on hearsay lah). Which begs the question, is Tongkat Ali for real?
Clearly the NEP has failed the Malays. Pemandu, please take note.
Okay. Seriously. (Huahahhaha...it's hard to be serious. Because this topic is funny to a T. LOL!!!).
Let's just view this whole episode from a political point of view.
In Malaysia, everybody loves sex. Especially when it is someone else who is being exposed.
And when the person involved is said to be the opposition leader, a representative of the people in our Parliament, the person who is set to be the Prime Minister if the opposition wins the General Election, sex and sex acts definitely are important, if not, definitive.
Anwar has of course denied that he was the person in the video. A dark conspiracy was then exposed by a PKR MP, Johari Abdul. Dato' T was then revealed to consist of not one, but three persons. "T" for "trio" (as opposed to "trinity", I suppose).
So, now, everyone is out in the open. The cards are all laid out for all to see. The video however, to people like you and me, remains elusive.
The question is, and will always be, "is it (the video) authentic?"
Let's set aside the authenticity question for a while.
Authentic or not, the damage has surely been done. Anwar's reputation is already sullied. To most people, the first reaction was, "oh no, not again!"
In politics, from the politicians' perspective, morality usually does not have a home.
Politics is the art of persuading the people to embrace one's ideas and oneself. How one goes about achieving that, in an extreme situation and at least in theory, does not matter. Morality may be a political weapon - or even a political goal - but it surely is not the governing tool of politics. That is why immoral politicians are sometime still preferred by the people and politicians with accepted moral norms are sometime rejected by the people.
The fact that morality and values are subjective also makes it difficult for moral to "govern" politics. Furthermore, moral norms and values are susceptible to changes precipitated by time and situations.
Morality therefore could be a determinative factor to the people. But not to the politicians.
There are two sides of the moral equation in this latest sexual expose.
Firstly, is it morally wrong for the trio to expose a sexual act of a supposed opposition leader in order to gain political mileage or to kill off their political opponent? While at first glance that question seems to be an easy one to answer, a deeper look at the issue would quickly muddy our judgment. Why?
The reason for that is because the answer to the first question is dependable on the answer to a second question.
The second question is, is it acceptable for a politician - especially if he is a leader of either the government or opposition - to commit a sexual indiscretion?
Of course there are various other questions too. For example, what would the people say about a leader who not only commit a sexual indiscretion, but who is also caught while doing so? If the leader has been caught doing it many times, the next question is what would the people say about a leader who not only commit the act and being caught but who also commit it multiple times and being caught multiple times?
In the last two questions above, morality is not the only issue. Diligence becomes an issue. How diligent is he who commits the act, being caught doing it once, and then he does it again and being caught again?
So, those are the questions. (Of course, the other question, to some connoisseurs of esoteric and exotic fulfillment, would be his choice of sexual partner or partners. Let's not wade into that bubbly water, shall we?)
Now, if the answer to the second question, from the people's point of view is in the negative, then who the hell cares about the first question. Dato' Duo, Trio, Quartet, Quintet or whatever can go on exposing and who bloody well care, right? In fact, their expose may, in that instance, backfire and harm them and the party which they represent.
If however, the answer to the second question is in the affirmative, it could well be argued, while attempting to answer the first question, that the trio has a duty to make the expose, so that the people know exactly who they are supporting (or not supporting) and the moral values which he represents.
Politics is about image and perception as much as it is about reality. In fact, in more times than not, it is about all about image and perception and nothing else. That is why the Prime Minister spends millions engaging APCO to sell his 1 Malaysia concept. Never mind about the reality. All that matter is perceptions and of course, to put it crudely, illusions. But illusions, more often than not, captivate. That is why, for instance, people pay hundreds and even thousands to watch David Copperfield and his ilk.
If morality is not a virtue of politicians but it is or may be a determinant to the people, it then becomes necessary for Anwar now to clear his name.
If this was a tennis match, Anwar's detractors have served a 167 mph serve through the expose. Anwar and his people have returned the serve by revealing the dark conspiracy at Flamengo Hotel. The Trio have however returned the ball by saying that one of them was actually at the scene and proposing a Royal Commission consisting of opposition leaders to determine authenticity of the video.
That last ball must now be returned by Anwar and his people. If not, the point - and it may be the set point - would go to Anwar's detractors, in so far as the perception war is concerned.
In my humble opinion, as far as the perception contest is concerned, Anwar has no choice but to return the ball - by showing once and for all that the video is not authentic or that the "actor" in it was not him - to prevent the Trio from winning.