All this noise we can do without

Phew! Latheefa Koya must be sighing in relief now that the spotlight on her appointment as chief of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has been deflected to Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali purportedly involved in a gay sex video.

She can now get on with her job! In the first place, her appointment is a non-issue. It only became an issue because it was played up by the opposition-held media whose owners and supporters were most to lose from her appointment. A number of Barisan Nasional politicians –from the former government — are under MACC investigation and no-nonsense Latheefa can be expected to ensure justice is done and criminals charged.

Her appointment by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad raised a cloud of criticisms on the grounds that it was unilaterally made without going through the Parliament Select Committee (PSC) and that it was a political appointment because she was a Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) member. She, however, left the party before taking up her new appointment.

As the PM has clarified, the PSC has yet to be formalised because a two-thirds majority is required to amend the constitution to make the process of going through the PSC legal and binding. Currently, the Pakatan Harapan government has no two-thirds majority and until that happens, the PM makes the decisions on top-level appointments.

The Prime Minister made the right decision regarding Latheefa because he is aware that the civil service has been compromised by decades of Umno-fed political patronage and it would be hard to find someone who can maintain neutrality in that culture. He wisely chose someone from outside such a culture who will be neutral and get the job done as swiftly as possible. Latheefa fits the bill.

Should she fail to be impartial, there are many people out there who are ready to train their guns on her. She has no choice but to be neutral. It is also imperative that she settles all the 1MDB-connected cases within her two-year tenure. Knowing the civil service mentality, Tun picked someone who will prioritize all the corruption cases and develop an anti-corruption culture in government.

Tun knows the civil service mind of giving in or giving up and taking it easy when the stress gets to them especially when an issue gets dragged out too long and when it involves familiar people. He wants someone who will prioritize the corruption cases and settle all or most of the corruptions cases before he leaves for good. Latheefa is, of course, expected to deliver.

The PM made no mistake in choosing Latheefa for the post of MACC chief. The fact that the opposition-orchestrated controversy has died down — thanks to Azmin’s alleged sex video — only proves it has no substance. It’s just a lot of political noise.

Another dose of political noise taking over the public sphere is the controversy over the video of two men intimate in bed. One of the men has declared it is indeed him in the video and identified the other as Azmin.

What? Kissing and telling now? If he regrets his action, he should just quietly repent between him and God, and change his behaviour.

What is so righteous about accusing the very person with whom you committed an immoral act? If it weren’t immoral to you why expose it for political gain? To destroy Azmin’s political career and, perhaps, cast aspersions on the Prime Minister for seeing him as an ally? To bring an opponent down, just follow the due process — not resort to gutter politics and underhanded tactics.

Will he achieve his goal or is this just a case of creating a little fire in the hope it will turn wild? And the confessor is willing to go to shameless lengths for it? Azmin may weather this controversy simply because he is a pawn in a ploy to bring him down. The PM, recognizing this as nothing but a desperate political manoeuvre, has dismissed the video as fake.

The public should regard this as just a little fire and ignore it, too. Don’t watch the video, Regard it as noise we can do without. What the confessor did was immoral. To engage in scurrilous activity and then use it to turn on your partner, I have no words to describe such treachery. (I have not mentioned the confessor’s name because it is best that he remains persona non grata.)

All may be fair in love and war … and politics, but as we head towards a developed nation status, the public expects our politicians to advance likewise in mentality and demonstrate basic decency in the way they play the game for power. Even in politics, those who know which boundaries not to cross go further. The people can see and we must make a stand against gutter politics.  So, don’t watch these sex videos. I haven’t and don’t intend to. When such gimmicks are lost on us, the perpetrators will realise they no longer have any currency and eventually stop such activities.

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