We finally have confirmation: the sex vids allegedly featuring a Cabinet minister are real. But according to the Attorney-General, the quality is so bad it’s impossible to say who’s really involved. Elsewhere in today’s news letter, the fallout from the MACC’s audio exposé continues, and an award-winning school principal is in the spotlight for allegedly sexually grooming a student.

Sex, lies and grainy videotape

Looks like them ... not them

Half a year on, we’ve finally got a ruling on the series of dirty vids allegedly featuring Econs Minister Azmin Ali and a former aide. And the verdict is that even though it may look like them, and perhaps even sound like them, it’s hard to know if it really is them. 

According to Attorney-General Tommy Thomas, the local and foreign experts employed to study the vids are certain the clips are real i.e. that they feature two dudes doing the nasty. But apparently, the grainy, low-lit, non-4K, non-Vivid-endorsed quality of the clips make facial recognition virtually impossible. 

What this means is that no one’s gonna be charged over the videos. And more importantly, Azmin’s job is safe. What it also means is that you, dear viewer, will have to decide for yourself whether or not you buy Azmin’s claims of innocence, based on what your own eyes tell you.

The vids, if you recall, came to light back in June 2019 when they were leaked to journos via WhatsApp groups with former PKR Santubong youth chief, Haziq Abdullah Abdul Aziz, claiming to have played the Linda Lovelace role. 

Azmin, the alleged Ron Jeremy, of course, has always denied involvement. And yesterday, following Tommy T’s statement, the Minister came out to, once more, condemn the whole sordid episode as gutter politics and laud the fact that justice has been done.

Thing is, has justice really been done? 

The A-G says no one’s going to be prosecuted over the clips and while people shouldn’t be subjected to Malaysia’s draconian laws on sex and morality, there is that small matter of Haziq’s video “confession”. 

What are the outcomes of the testimonies he gave the cops when he was arrested shortly after that confession? Do the authorities feel he lied? And if Haziq did lie, what’s going to happen to him? We don’t entirely agree with its use but just so you know, S.233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 – which concerns itself with improper use of network facilities – is wide enough to cover a charge against the dude if he did, in fact, make a false accusation.

If Haziq didn’t lie, the question is: is the extent of police investigations simply to run the video through facial recognition software? And no other investigation whatsoever?

Anyhoo, while certain peeps have shown Azmin the love following Tommy’s announcement, one voice conspicuously missing was that of the Sodomy Trials star himself, Anwar Ibrahim. Yes, there’s bad blood between AI and AA. And yes, Anwar did suggest back in July that Azmin should quit if the allegations against him were proven to be true.

Side note: Is Anwar’s suggestion hypocritical? He never quit his party or MP positions when he was found guilty in both his sodomy trials, always claiming he was innocent – which is exactly what Azmin is saying in this case. 

Anyway, you’d have thought that this latest bit of news would have presented the perfect opportunity for the two to bury the hatchet. But apparently not. Is more trouble brewing between the two? Who knows? And, in fact, who can tell anymore with PKR?

Oh BTW, even though the experts and authorities apparently can’t determine the identities of the persons involved in the vids, Crime Scene Investigator Najib “Sherlock Holmes” Razak believes the processes – including the studying of CCTV footage and whatnot – should be easy enough

You have to hand it to Jib. Just a day after the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s public audio exposé, the dude’s returned to his trolling best and stirring shit with, get this, the most memorable line (read: Can I advise you something …) from Wednesday’s press conference. 

Troll level: legendary!

Big audio dynamite

Speaking of Jibby and the MACC, the fallout from Wednesday’s press conference – at which alleged phone convos featuring the ex-PM and a number of purported conspirators were revealed – continued yesterday. And once again, opinions differed on whether what Latheefa Koya and co. did was fair and proper. 

The main issue, as far as lawyers were concerned, appeared to revolve around the legal concept of the Rule of Law

In a nutshell, and in case you didn’t go to law school, the principle states every person should be subject to just laws that are applied and enforced equally. And this is exactly, say folks like Ramkarpal Singh, his lawyer sis Sangeet Kaur Deo and Haniff Khatri Abdulla (the guy who usually appears in court for PM Mahathir Mohamad), what was not adhered to when the MACC decided to go public with the evidence. 

The Malaysian Bar, calling the graft body’s public airing of the clips improper, also kinda took the same view.

But, of course, not everyone agreed.

Former Bersih chief Ambiga Sreenevasan, for one, felt the scale of the abuse of power contained in the clips was so major the public had a right to know. Is she correct? And is what the MACC did in essence, as some people have claimed, the same thing one Loh Gwo Burne did back in 2007 when he released video clips of prominent lawyer V.K. Lingam attempting to fix court? 

Well, here’re a couple of things to consider. One, there was no on-going trial at the time involving V.K. that could’ve been affected by the clips. And two, the vids weren’t revealed by a government body, but leaked by a private individual. 

Anyways, while everyone and their dog is debating the release of the audio recordings, Umno’s numero uno, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, says he isn’t losing sleep over them, especially as Barisan Nasional doesn’t see the vids influencing its chances in the upcoming Kimanis by-election.

According to Zahid, voters in Kimanis are smart enough to not be affected by such issues, and while that may be true, what may be more so is that if played the right way, BN could very well turn the issue around to its advantage and claim a conspiracy to do them in right before an important election.

The real threat to school kids

Every couple of months we hear about the escalating problem of child sexual grooming. However, despite tighter laws and way more awareness than before, the problem continues to persist. And what’s worse is that a new case in the spotlight suggests persons entrusted to mould the nation’s kids may be the same ones screwing up their lives.

In the latest case, attention has been turned to a school principal from Johor who’s allegedly been “grooming” a male student and encouraging the now Form Five boy into a “teacher-student” relationship.

It’s hard to say at this point what’s real and what’s not, but what we do know is that the case blew up when screenshots of chats between the principal and student went viral. There were explicit pics too! And what makes this issue a whole load more disturbing is the claim that the alleged guilty party is a 50-something senior educationist who recently received an award for educational excellence!

The Johor Education Department has promised to probe the matter thoroughly and we sure hope it will but what is of concern is that sources claim the Department was already aware of the issue last year. Yet, not a thing was done.

 

According to a recent report, one in 10 Malaysian kids are victims of sexual abuse, and studies claim that in 95% of the cases, the abusers are known to the victims. Fathers and stepfathers are normally listed as among the main abusers of these poor kids. But could there also be a large number of guilty teachers? Surely, the time to find out is now.

Also, we can’t help but feel that more needs to be done to prevent shit like this from happening. The awareness vids on YouTube by the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry have been great, really. But perhaps, what’s needed more than ever is sexual education as a subject so children are made really aware of the danger signs.

And to think one f*cking idiot feels CNY decor in schools is the main threat to kids.

This and that

As usual, some other things made the news too. Here’re the more important ones:

  • DAP’s Seremban Jaya rep P. Gunasekaran, one of those being investigated for alleged links to Sri Lanka’s LTTE, has claimed trial to charges of supporting the defunct terror group. The assemblyman could face up to 30 years in prison if found guilty by the court.
     
  • Tolls have yet to be done away with. However, Money Minister Lim Guan Eng has promised rates will not be going up at least for the next 12 months. What happens in 2021 though, is anyone’s guess.
     
  • Despite claiming to have left politics, Rafizi Ramli sees no issue with offering his opinion on the current state of affairs. Speaking at a forum in Singapore, the PKR veep said a retirement date may be imposed on PM Maddey Mohamad if he doesn’t commit to a handover timeline. Yeah, we so see that happening. Not!
     
  • All female municipal council staff in Kelantan have been “reminded” to cover up and “dress decently”. And that’s ’cos the government, anticipating more tourist arrivals this year, is bent on putting its Develop With Islam campaign into practice. Sure, that’s the reason. Not ’cos some men just love telling women how they should dress.

“Hotel rooms inhabit a separate moral universe.”

- Tom Stoppard -

IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • Investigators are now certain. The Ukrainian passenger plane that crashed in Iran on Wednesday killing all 176 people on board was shot-down by an anti-aircraft missile. The jet may have been unintentionally brought down. However, world leaders have demanded an explanation and thorough investigation.
     
  • Harry and Meghan may not be actually quitting the royal family, but their announcement of wanting to “step back” from their roles as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex has apparently caused some measure of “hurt”, with Queen E intent on finding a solution.
     
  • PM Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal has been approved by the House of Commons which means the United Kingdom could be out of the European Union by the end of January.

ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER

This weekday newsletter is brought to you by Trident Media, a group of Malaysian journalists with 60 years of combined media experience in four countries across TV, print and digital media.

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Trident Media · Seksyen 35 · Shah Alam, Selangor 40470 · Malaysia

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