Friday, May 6, 2011

The sex video comedy and the Malaysian malady

By Kee Thuan Chye

The sex video saga is really turning out to be a farce. It’s so funny you can’t help but laugh.

First, the ‘Datuk T’ trio who brought public attention to the video have been made the butt of countless jokes. Second, the police seem to be hesitant in revealing their findings even as the video has been leaked out and posted on YouTube and Umno-friendly blogs although the only copy is supposed to be in police custody.

And now one of the trio has taken the sumpah laknat. Last week, Shazryl Eskay Abdullah swore on the Quran to make us believe he is telling the truth in saying that the man in the video is Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim. What’s going to happen next?

This act of swearing on the Quran is getting to be a trend. In 2008, Saiful Bukhari Azlan did it to attest he was sodomised by Anwar. That same year, no less than Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak himself also did it to have us believe he was never involved with Altantuya. Despite their gestures, many people are still sceptical.

In the case of Eskay, the act is hugely ironic. He would have to be a good follower of the faith to take such an oath and be believed, but has he not been tainted by his own admission that he is one of the people caught on the video? As it is, he has not come clean on why he was there. His narratives are often cloudy and enigmatic.

It’s just as well that his collaborator Rahim Thamby Chik did not swear on the Quran too. His record of allegedly having had sex with an underaged girl, an act amounting to statutory rape, would have wrecked his credibility. In fact, it’s another laughable point that Rahim is part of this trio – he, of all people, accusing another man of immorality!

Besides, what the trio has done in regard to the sex video is already immoral. And that’s not even saying they were behind the videotaping itself, which is still a mystery.

Simply using it to destroy the reputation and career of another human being is already without doubt an immoral act. How then are we to believe that by swearing on the Quran, Eskay exhibits religious conviction? Does it not more likely appear as some kind of stunt?

Does it not also appear as an attempt to win public sympathy? Or a desperate measure? After all, the day before he took the sumpah laknat, Eskay intimated to the media that he and his collaborators would soon be charged in court; although what the charge would be, he wouldn’t say.

Ignorant cops

That was actually quite a revelation, because up till that time, no one had known if the police were ever going to take any action against the trio – for possessing and exhibiting pornography.

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Ismail Omar had said from the outset that the case would be investigated under Section 292 of the Penal Code, which covers that offence, but along the way no action seemed to have been taken.

The Star did report on March 25 that according to Deputy Commissioner Ghazali Md Amin, three unnamed individuals had been arrested in connection with the sex video, but when the ‘Datuk T’ trio were asked if they were the ones, they said they were not.

Rahim even told the media that when the police questioned them on March 24, they did not sign any document stating they were arrested and released on bail.

Thereafter, nobody gave a straight answer when asked about the truth. Not even the cops.

In fact, on March 25, when the IGP himself was asked why Rahim and Eskay were not arrested when they went to the police headquarters for questioning, the country’s top cop actually said, “What offence (did they commit), you tell me.”

But then on the eve of his sumpah laknat, Eskay told Malaysiakini he was arrested “that day” (without specifying which) and “was bailed out with RM10,000”. Intriguing! More so when you consider that the IGP seemed ignorant of the offence when earlier he had mentioned Section 292. Did he have a lapse of memory?

Going by the events, the public perception so far is that the police are biased in their handling of the case – and that’s cause for another hoot.

There was reportedly even a police escort for the ‘Datuk T’ trio when they arrived at the mosque for the sumpah laknat ceremony. This reeks of VIP treatment. At least one of them, Eskay, wore a bulletproof vest, which he, however, claims belongs to him.

Nonetheless, do these three, who should instead be charged in court under Section 292, deserve police escort?

To reinforce the public perception of the police bias, the next day PKR alleged that a police officer with the rank of senior assistant commissioner had been giving talks to school principals and teachers in Kelantan in which he told them Anwar was the man in the sex video and a threat to national security. Whatever the truth of PKR’s allegation, it’s hard to bet now on police impartiality.
Moreover, the police still haven’t told us how the sex video in their custody managed to get into cyberspace.

More important, the central and most pressing question has not yet been answered although they have reportedly been investigating the case intensively. That question is: Who was actually behind the videotaping? Is it so difficult to find out who the culprits are? Who was the prostitute in the video? Have the police got to her? What has she revealed?

PM provides the best laugh

Are we going to get any answers at all? Or will this, like the many intriguing mysteries that have arisen in this wonderful land of ours, such as the murder of Altantuya, be swept under the carpet?
Could it be that the police are waiting for instructions from their political masters?

Are these political masters calculating when the right time would be to take action, how the case should be spun, who should be arrested, what should be done so that they can make political capital out of it?

It seems there is no going by the truth any more in Malaysia, and this sex video saga illustrates it clearly.

It is now all about twisting the truth to one’s advantage, hiding the truth, turning the truth into falsehood. And, worse, making falsehood the truth.

This, fellow citizens, is the Malaysian Malady. And the people who are suffering for it are the innocent rakyat.

Stricken with it, we have to laugh or face despair, and no amount of crying will bring us relief. On that note, perhaps the best laugh stems from Najib Tun Razak’s response when he was asked by the media if he had watched the sex video when it was uploaded on the Internet. “Apa punya soalan ini (What kind of question is this),” he said, dismissing it.

Don’t you think it’s a fair and legitimate question? But why is the PM evading it? Well, that, fellow Malaysians, is the crux of the Malaysian Malady.

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