Dirty politics alive and kicking in New Malaysia

Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali denies the accusation made by an individual who had attempted to link him to a sex video which is going viral. -NSTP/File pic

KUALA LUMPUR: The emergence of a sex video allegedly of Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and a government officer has shown that even in the age of New Malaysia, such political tactics still are resorted to.

The video has made its rounds on the Internet, but it was the media fraternity that first became its unwilling victims.

They were added into a Whats-App group, claiming to be a Hari Raya event invitation.

What came instead was a shock.

The majority of social media users have expressed their disappointment at the prevalence of such dirty tactics.

Azmin, in his denial, said it was a nefarious plot to assassinate his reputation and character to destroy his political career.

What took many by surprise, however, was a supposed video confession allegedly by Muhammad Haziq Abdul Aziz — the senior private secretary to Deputy Primary Industries Minister Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin — who declared that it was him and Azmin in the video.

However, Haziq has yet to speak to the media to clarify whether the confession is genuine, and whether it is indeed him in the video.

Character assassination is nothing new in Malaysian politics. The only thing that’s changed is the medium used to do it.

Whatever one receives can easily be shared and re-shared by netizens on multiple social media platforms, instantly killing characters and years of effort taken to build them.

“Social media is a faceless community. In most cases, you do not see the person who likes your photos, or shares your ideas.

“It is where people tweet and send threatening messages to strangers without a care in the world, all in the name of fun.

“Let me just say that it is never fun being at the receiving end of character assassination,” said political and social media analyst Associate Professor Dr Sara Chinnasamy.

The supposed confession, however, has raised eyebrows.

Why would someone who had built a political reputation for himself over the years tarnish himself by confessing to the act? Why risk himself, his safety, and evidently, his freedom?

Lawyer Nizam Bashir said with Azmin’s denial, the burden now lied with his accuser to prove that his statement was not defamatory.

“Now that (Azmin) has denied his involvement, the ball is back in his accuser’s court. The accuser needs to succeed in saying that his statement is not defamatory, by perhaps showing that what he said is fair comment.

“This, meaning that his comment, which though defamatory, cannot be sued upon as it is an opinion on a matter of public interest.”

Muslim Lawyers Association of Malaysia president Datuk Seri Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar said a report was needed to enable an investigation to be conducted before the prosecution proceedings.

He added that the accuser could be charged for a criminal offence under syariah or civil law for his public confession.

“However, under the double jeopardy principle in law, the person cannot be charged for the same offence in two separate courts,” he said yesterday.

Those in possession of the video also have to be careful — Section 211 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 prohibits the publication of offensive content on the Internet.

It stipulates that any person found to provide content which is indecent, obscene, false, menacing or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any person may be liable to a fine not exceeding RM50,000 or jail term not exceeding one year, or both.

By Hana Naz Harun.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/politics/2019/06/495892/dirty-politics-alive-and-kicking-new-malaysia

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