COMMENT | The recent video exposé about a certain political leader allegedly committing acts of sexual nature via a spy camera is nothing new in Malaysia, and I am pretty sure it won’t be the last.
Being a conservative society, Malaysians are easily affected when confronted with such revelations. It may influence people’s perception of whether the person involved is fit to be a leader or otherwise, even though such a video could very well be a hoax.
Unfortunately, some despicable minds had taken advantage of the situation and launched a systematic attack in order to destroy the political career of the victim.
My stand on this is clear; I will not waste my time talking about how disgusting these political animals are when it comes to smearing other people’s reputation. As far as I know, they are criminals and cowards; therefore, I will leave it to the justice system to punish these perpetrators.
What I would like to focus on is the man himself, Mohamed Azmin Ali. Will he overcome the attempted political assassination?
Azmin, as I know him personally, is a man of character. A seasoned politician, he has gone through the Malaysian political rollercoaster from his early days as a university student.
He came from a simple family, not from any political or aristocratic background. His father was working with the army, hence I guess that could be where Azmin got his stern and commanding demeanour.
He was offered a scholarship to study for his degree in the United States, and this was where he started to be active in student politics and youth leadership.
Whenever Dr Mahathir Mohamad or Anwar Ibrahim visited the US, Azmin was always the liaison officer of choice.
This gave him the opportunity to directly discuss ideas with Malaysian top leaders, and sure enough, his passion and interest in mainstream politics were rewarded later when he was appointed as the private secretary of Anwar, the deputy prime minister.
His stock was on the rise, and he was seen as the natural successor to helm the country when the time came.
Nevertheless, 1998 was a challenging year for him, but he remained loyal to his superior, even to the point of co-founding Parti Keadilan Nasional with Anwar, the original party that later became Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) that rivalled BN.
He was among the first supporters who were manhandled and arrested by the authorities during the reformasi period. He was also barred by the court from participating in the 10th general election in 2004.
Listening to him tell all these stories made me realise that he was a fighter, and I still believe he still is one now. It was never easy for him, but he survived the baptism by fire.
His leadership prowess was tested when Anwar was imprisoned again, and Azmin had to unite the opposition supporters and ensure the cracks within would not disintegrate the party.
He began to groom new leaders within the party, possibly due to his passion in teaching, as he used to be a high school teacher (and also holds a master’s degree in Education), and this strategic move shows the vision of Azmin in ensuring that the party will continue to grow bigger and stronger.
Proving critics wrong
When Azmin took the helm as the menteri besar of Selangor, people thought he would not even last for one term. He proved them wrong, and knowing him as a not-so-chatty person, Azmin loves to show that his actions speak louder than his words. Selangor continued to become prosperous and progressive.
Numerous beneficial schemes were introduced and more assistance was given to the rakyat as a result of an economically stable Selangor.
For example, he was the one who introduced the Smart Selangor blueprint, a masterplan to make Selangor a smart state. Closer to my liking, he also introduced several youth employability programmes such as the Internship for High Impact Talent and academic boot camps. Selangor enjoyed an increase in direct investment due to his leadership.
He is the type that takes the bull by the horns and executes his game plan - be it legal suits, defamation, water crisis or interference from the federal government.
Throughout all these tough times, his family was entirely behind him and they were his pillars of strength. They had to endure so much pressure due to controversies, ranging from sibling rivalry between Azmin, Azwan and Ummi Hafilda, to the infamous oral sex video allegedly of Azmin. All were carefully managed by him and he emerged a stronger politician than ever.
The year 2018 was crucial for Azmin as he joined forces with Mahathir and other opposition leaders and parties to form Pakatan Rakyat, in order to save this country from kleptocracy and the massive 1MDB scandal.
It was indeed a gamble by Azmin and PKR to reunite with Mahathir, but it was a lesser evil for him to choose as he prioritised national interest over a personal vendetta.
Azmin fought like a true general during the 14th general election and Pakatan Harapan is indebted to his strong will and strategic thinking that contributed to the win.
I bear witness to all the meetings and campaigns conducted by Azmin before the election, and I have to say that he exudes great leadership and teamwork, which of course could be the source of envy to some others.
His expertise in the economy, mathematics as well as a good stint as the menteri besar of Selangor made him the best candidate to hold the post as the new minister of economic affairs.
With the benefit of hindsight, looking at all the above situations which Azmin had encountered and survived, I personally feel that he will also walk away from the current gossip unscathed.
If I were Azmin’s enemy who devised this morally bankrupt, botched political assassination, I would be worried as I know that he will rise once again and I will be at his mercy.
I pray that he and his family will stay strong and continue to lead Malaysia into the future, like he always does.
SYED SADDIQ SYED ABDUL RAHMAN is the youth and sports minister.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.