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Sex scandals, murder, graft spice up politics

Luke Rintod of FMT
In Malaysia's 'bolehland', politicians – guilty or not –
have neither shame nor dignity.
The growing trend in the country to expose all kinds of scandals, be they sexual or financial, has left one asking how dirty and far Malaysian politics can go in the run-up to an impending general election. 

The country is fresh from an on-going sodomy case against Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.
Connected or not to the increasingly untenable sodomy case in court, another sexual scandal has surfaced in the form of a video clip purportedly featuring Anwar engaging in sexual intercourse with a woman inside a hotel in town.

Anwar has denied this and made a mockery of it.

He has accused his political enemies of a desperate attempt to kill him politically, saying “they made their motive very clear when they said they wanted Anwar to retire from politics”.

Not so long ago, Rais Yatim, a senior minister in Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s ruling party Umno, was accused of illicit sex with his Indonesian maid. Rais denied it ever happened.

Preceeding this, Malaysians and in particular MCA members, were stunned when the then health minister Dr Chua Soi Lek was caught in video clip in which he was seen engaging in sexual intercourse with a woman in a hotel.

He was gentleman enough to admit that it was him.

Sex scandal
Chua, who was MCA deputy president at the time, immediately relieved himself of his ministerial post. Against all odds, he returned to contest the party presidency and defeated the incumbent Ong Tee Keat.

Of course, there had been other rumours and speculations over the years about the scandalous lives of Malaysian politicians from both sides of the political divide.

Even Najib has not been spared. He is still reeling from consistent allegations of involvement in the murder of Mongolian model and interpreter Altantuya Shaaribuu, in the outskirt of Kuala Lumpur years ago, a charge which he has repeatedly denied.

Financial scandals too are not short in Malaysia. As far as the opposition is concerned, virtually all the federal ministers and most of the state chief ministers are implicated in kick-backs in mega-projects under their jurisdiction.

Even BN leaders themselves have admitted to this one.

Years ago when Ong Ka Ting was about to retire as MCA president, he stunned the nation when he disclosed that many projects cost double or even triple the actual amount because of the practice of kick-backs or commission among the ruling elite.

Over the weekend, former minister and Gerakan party president Dr Lim Keng Yaik echoed Ong’s observation, adding that it was the reason why people were deserting BN.

Ill-gotten gains
A few months ago, a political secretary to one of Najib’s ministers was caught in possession of millions of cash at his house in Penang, believed to be ill-acquired. The case is still pending in court.

Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud is another politician who has been a target of speculations and allegations.

He is said to be worth billions in cash and properties worldwide. Making it worse for Taib is his son, Mahmud Abu Bekir’s divorce suit.

Mahmud’s ex-wife is claiming, via a Syariah Court, no less than RM400 million in divorce settlements. The RM400 million being sought is half of their joint income as husband and wife over the years.

This warrants a question: if the son is a billionaire, how much is the father worth?

Now analysts believe that this type of allegations and counter-allegation would surely increase in both volume and velocity as the crucial 13th general election looms over the horizon of a politically and racially divided Malaysia.

Lives exposed
Already in Sarawak, with the State Legislative Assembly dissolved on Monday, leaflets and discs on Taib’s alleged scandalous “affairs” with the state treasury are being distributed in the vast Land of the Hornbill.

“Each of the politician has his or her own skeleton in the cupboard. It is just a question of quantum – how big and what kind of skeletons,” said an analyst familiar with the workings of Malaysian political elites.

He said that in the not too distant a future all top politicians in the country could have every detail of their lives exposed and scrutinised, either via the Internet or downloaded onto conventional CDs.

“Rich political rivals might be tempted to finance certain group just to operate this kind of black-mailing rivals.

“And not necessarily between rival parties; it could well be within a same party among competing potential candidates in the general election,” observed the analyst.

But, then in Malaysia it is not yet a culture to quit elected and public post just because his or her scandals, either sexual or financial or both, have been found out or exposed.

In more developed countries like in Europe and Japan, leaders who had been “successfully” linked in one way or another to so much negativities, would have resigned in disgrace for bringing disrepute to their offices.

But this is Malaysia, the bolehland!

Let us see how much more will be exposed and whether the looming 13th general election will make any difference to the status quo in the Malaysian political culture.

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