With the gay sex video and audio that has gone viral in Malaysia exposing alleged homosexual tendencies within the Parti Keadilan Rakyat of Prime Minister to be Anwar Ibrahim, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is now in a stronger position.
The tapes, say analysts, have strengthened Dr Mahathir’s grip on the PM’s seat given the uncertainties that have surfaced within the PKR.
Anwar’s men are now in an open battle with Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali’s officers. Both sides are making scathing comments attacking each other in the media while Azmin is struggling to prove he is not the man in the gay sex videos.
Last week Anwar had two clear choices: Ask Azmin to go on leave or to remain in government. Anwar apparently made the right move in putting Azmin in the face of a personal decision when he says Azmin should not quit, says an analyst.
The analyst said this meant he did not want to impose himself on Azmin’s next move but was polite enough to give Azmin space to decide for himself in the wake of the incriminating tapes.
But persistent attacks from the confessor of gay sex with Azmin is now exposing the PKR deputy President to even more pressure.
PKR activist, Muhammad Haziq Aziz who left the party for a few years to join fallen Najib Razak’s Barisan Nasional in Sarawak to campaign for a former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukry has confessed he is one of the two men engaging in gay sex in a series of videos released on social media in Malaysia.
Haziq, seen next to Najib Razak in a picture and along with Nancy Shukry in some photos on Facebook also has links with almost all top PKR leaders.
Haziq Aziz, who returned to Pakatan Harapan as Sarawak’s PKR Youth leader, named Azmin as the man engaged in homosexual acts with him and claims the video is genuine.
Yesterday an audio recording entitled ‘Azmin loves Haziq 3/4’ was released along with a grainy video of the two men in bed, putting more pressure on the PKR and on Azmin.
“The latter might have taken it as a signal of weakness from Anwar given the strong undercurrents in his favour in the PKR. He is now fighting back with grit, rejecting calls to quit by Anwar’s men and reformasi activists,” says Cordoba Ali, a ‘reformasi’ writer and analyst on Malaysian affairs who has in the past contributed to the Malaysia Today portal.
Cordoba says Azmin is playing a tricky game of survival of the fittest where he is innocent until proven otherwise.
“Someone is behind Azmin, someone not from the PKR obviously as he is the leader of a group of disgruntled MP’s who obviously do not want Anwar in the way. The person or persons behind Azmin’s tenacious stance know what they are doing.
“Azmin’s stance and fightback only weakens the PKR, puts Anwar Ibrahim in a weakling (sic) position in the party and altogether strengthens Dr Mahathir’s grip on power.
However, both Anwar and Azmin are communicating from a distance, with Anwar giving full support to Azmin but the latter lambasting PKR’s leadership for allegedly handing over his mobile number to Haziq.
Last week Anwar said he had a long phone conversation with Azmin on the gay tapes issue. The next day, Anwar and the PKR leadership organised a press conference where Azmin was absent. Many considered it as a sign of guilt from Azmin.
Azmin made police reports urging the authorities to investigate the ‘conspirators’ who are trying to mess with his political career, but so far he did not strongly deny it is not him in the videos.
His office has also rejected claims by experts there are not digital alterations done to the videos which show they are originals but the experts could not figure out if it is Azmin in the videos.
Anwar’s men are calling for Azmin to quit his post until the investigation on the veracity of the video is over. Azmin is resisting such calls, saying he has met the Malaysian Agong or King and will follow the latter’s advise.
With Azmin not quitting, speculation is high that the Agong might have advised him to stay put until investigations are over.
With the latest take on the gay sex video scandal that has shaken PKR and will invariably create havoc in Pakatan’s leadership ladder, Cordoba Ali says Dr Mahathir now has good reason not to listen to anyone on a resignation timeline.
The old fox, he says, will use this scandal and the divide in the PKR as a template to show merit in his staying on longer and he will win support among the people and perhaps among a lot more MP’s in Parliament.