In the wake of allegations resulting from sex video leaks and graft claims implicating a cabinet minister, Anwar Ibrahim has cautioned against slander, saying that it can be “worse than murder”.
In a personal online post today, the prime minister-in-waiting said this was because slander could destroy individuals, happiness and unity, all of which were considered “the ties of society”.
He cited a text from the Quran, Surah al-Baqarah, which states that "slander is worse than murder".
“Unfortunately, slander is part and parcel of politics - when they fail to subdue a person with facts and principles, the road of slander and lies becomes their choice.
“Repeat (the slander), repeat and repeat...thus it becomes a ‘truth’, especially in the social media and ‘fake news’ age. I had long been defamed in years past and spent my whole life fighting (it).
“I lost friends and time with my loved ones. I do not wish that on anyone else,” the PKR president said in an Instagram post today.
Anwar himself was also the subject of a similar controversy when, in 2011, a video featuring a man said to resemble him was screened to members of the press.
Anwar had spent almost a decade behind bars following sodomy and corruption charges levied against him back in 1998 and 2014 under the premierships of Dr Mahathir Mohamad, during the latter’s first stint as premier, and Najib Abdul Razak.
The current PKR president constantly maintained his innocence and claims the charges and subsequent convictions were politically motivated.
He received a royal pardon and was released from jail when Pakatan Harapan took over the government in May 2018.
The post by Anwar, who is also Port Dickson MP, comes amid a host of allegations being bandied about after two sets of sex videos featuring two men were mysteriously leaked to the press along with purported bank documents on an illicit money transfer - all of which implicated Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali.
Amid the release of the clips and documents, Santubong PKR Youth chief Haziq Abdullah Abdul Aziz claimed he was one of the men in the video.
He alleged that Azmin was the other man in the clips, and urged the latter to be investigated for corruption.
The PKR deputy president has since denied all allegations and stated the videos were an attempt at character assassination.
Meanwhile, in his post today, Anwar advised people not to share slanderous allegations “without thinking”.
He warned that such challenges to destroy unity could only be defeated if everyone maintained their principles and integrity.
He had also spoken out against the circulation of the video, saying on Wednesday that it was gutter politics and thought his own experience would have been “the last”.
Anwar had also reportedly denied that the leaking of the video clips was the result of internal politics within PKR.