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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sex Video: Who Is the More Immoral?

By Kee Thuan Chye

OH no! Not again! They’re gunning for Anwar Ibrahim over another alleged sex scandal. The video revealed by the mysterious “Datuk T” showing a man resembling an Opposition party leader having sex with a woman, said to be a prostitute, is obviously targeted at him.

But the timing of its revelation to the media on March 21 suspiciously coincides with the dissolution of the Sarawak State Assembly, paving the way for state elections. Not to mention the part in Mahathir Mohamad’s recently launched memoir, A Doctor in the House, that claims Anwar arranged to have sex with four girls when he was deputy prime minister in 1998.

What has Malaysia turned into? The sordid sex opera capital of the world? What are we showing the world? That we are a nation of sex maniacs? Or, worse, that our politics is so dirty that we turn to sex to discredit our enemies?

We have done it to Chua Soi Lek, and now we are doing it to Anwar – for the third time. Who will be next in the near future?

On the other hand, the case in which a minister was alleged to have raped his Indonesian maid seems to have been adeptly swept aside.

Rape is certainly serious because it causes harm to another person. But if a politician visits a prostitute, what’s the beef? Isn’t it his private matter?

When Soi Lek had sex with the woman with whom he was caught on video, that was also his private matter. But what is more despicable in that case – and the current one – is that the videotaping was arranged.

If we want to accuse Soi Lek (and now, apparently, Anwar) of being immoral, what about the morals of the person or persons who masterminded the videotaping? Aren’t such individuals more devious – and therefore more worthy of our contempt – for conniving to destroy another human being? Aren’t such people cowardly for resorting to such covert acts?

Isn’t “Datuk T” cowardly for not revealing his identity? He claims he was not the one who set up the videotaping, that he actually discovered it, so why is he afraid to come forward and show who he is?

He says he was shocked when he discovered the four cameras and a recorder in the hotel room where the sexual tryst took place, and decided to take the recorder with him. As someone who was presumably close to and trusted by the politician concerned, why did he not show the video to the latter? Why was he keeping it to himself? Did he there and then plan to use it at some point in the future?

If he wasn’t the one behind the videotaping, who was? Why did he not investigate it further? Especially since he was at the time an “insider” in the politician’s camp? Why is he now allowing himself to be a pawn of some other person or persons without finding out who they are? How can he simply take over the product of someone else’s handiwork and use it for his own purpose?

Why is he now turning against the politician who had trusted him? Why does he now call on the politician – and even the latter’s wife – to quit politics? What has she got to do with this?

Is he even sure about the authenticity of the video? If he is, why does he write in the statement given to the press: “If it is true… [the couple] must step down from politics” (my italics)? He says if they did not accede to his demand, he would call on several NGOs to set up an independent panel to investigate and study the authenticity of the video. Does that connote that he’s not sure?

It’s interesting that the set-up of the press conference to reveal the video smacks of an organized and sophisticated backing to it. The security checks on the journalists attending it were reportedly done with metal scanners, and the journalists were provided with jackets to wear to prevent them from touching their pockets. The event was held in the luxurious Carcosa Seri Negara. Who sponsored all that?

As for the video itself, it is reported to have been recorded with high quality equipment which rendered clear and sharp images. It’s “professionally done”, Datuk T reportedly commented. This again smacks of organized and sophisticated backing. Why aren’t we asking who was behind it? Why did Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein initially dismiss it as something that could not be investigated because no one had yet lodged a police report? Now that Anwar has made such a report, let’s see what proceeds from there.

This could be a case not only of invasion of privacy but, more seriously, one of conspiracy. It is also possible that the entire sexual liaison was staged, with a look-alike being employed to pass off for the politician – as is done in movies.

Why was the woman not brought along to vouch for the video’s authenticity? Datuk T says when he went back to the hotel room to look for the politician’s Omega watch and found it not there, he confronted her about it and she gave it back to him. This indicates that he knows how to contact her directly. So wouldn’t he be able to produce her if her testimony is required?

A lot of intriguing questions have arisen from this drama, raising a lot of suspicion. In light of that, the quintessential detective might well say, “I smell a rat.”

Ironically, this episode could turn out in Anwar’s favor as people begin to be disgusted by how low his enemies will go to try and destroy him. Many would no doubt have already been put off by the front page of The Star of March 22 carrying a huge picture of him next to the headline ‘Sex Video Shocker’.

The visual impact is clear – in the picture, both his index fingers are pointing at himself as if to say, “I’m the one”. Considering that no one, not even Datuk T, has been reported to name the politician in the video, it is distasteful to run a picture of Anwar on the front page, and especially in such a pose.

The Sarawak state elections may be coming up and the stakes may be high for Barisan Nasional to score a big victory, but this is a blatant spin that speaks poorly of a national newspaper.

All these underhanded tactics must cease. Politics may be a dirty game, but let’s not make it more dirty than it already is. The general consensus among the public is that there are national problems that need to be urgently solved. Energy should be concentrated on these priorities, instead of spent on distracting us from them.

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