Madani govt under scrutiny amidst Agus-Wahab scandal ahead of its first year of administration

22 Nov 2023 06:30pm
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim - Photo by Bernama
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim - Photo by Bernama

SHAH ALAM - As the one year anniversary of the Madani government approaches, concerns arise over the possible implications on the administration following a viral lewd video involving former Communications and Community Department (J-Kom) director-general Datuk Dr Mohammad Agus Yusoff and a staff.

Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) political analyst Dr Abdul Aziz Azizam said the repercussion of the issue could have an impact on the administration, particularly concerning the pivotal role of Agus within Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's circle.

He said Agus' significant position within the administration amplified the potential implications of the situation.

"Regardless of the veracity of these claims, they undeniably influence public perception, fostering an impression of turbulence or recalibration at the upper echelons of governance.

"Yet, it is important to note that while such events may momentarily cloud the government's image, they might not necessarily lead to irreparable damage throughout the entirety of Madani's first year in power.

"The focal point might shift, highlighting concerns beyond this particular controversy and retaining a broader perspective on the government's progress and challenges," he told Sinar Daily.

Last week, after the video emerged, Agus in a press conference denied the veracity of the video saying that the video which appeared to feature him having an indecent conversation with another man named "Wahab" was doctored by someone identified as Mr H.

The other man identified as Abdul Wahab Abdul Kadir Jilani came forward together with Agus in the press conference.

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Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Institute of Ethnic Studies deputy director professor Dr Kartini Aboo Talib said the discussion revolving around Agus and Wahab consistently circled back to Anwar's historical sodomy conviction.

The inevitable connection she said posed a challenge to Anwar's integrity in handpicking members for his ministerial portfolio or appointed positions.

She said the lingering shadow of past controversies may cast doubt on his decisions, subjecting his choices to intensed scrutiny and skepticism.

"Despite staunch support from his followers, these associations remain an undeniable embarrassment to Anwar," Kartini said.

She said while some argue that the Agus-Wahab case should not weigh heavily on Anwar's present decisions, it brought to mind the age-old adage, "can a man take fire in his bosom and not be burned?"

This situation, she said served as a reminder that past actions often have enduring consequences, regardless of attempts to distance oneself from them.

Meanwhile, political analyst Datuk Dr Jeniri Amir said the scandal's potential impact on Anwar's first year in administration remained uncertain.

The issue at hand, he said seemed to dwell in an ambiguous space, making it challenging to determine its authenticity.

Moreover, he said the prevalence of social media intensified the situation, inundating the public with information and creating a blurred line between truth and falsehood.

"There’s a growing sentiment among the public, a weariness towards issues concerning Anwar.

"Many individuals are eager to move forward, looking past the narratives associated with him.

"However, there's a growing concern about the opposition's manipulation of such issues," he said adding that it was apparent that people were becoming more discerning and less influenced by these narrative manipulators.

He said the power wielded by these narrators over public opinion may be diminishing and the efforts to sway public perception regarding Anwar's involvement seemed to be losing their impact as people increasingly sought authenticity and reliability in the information they consumed.

International Islamic University Malaysia's (IIUM) political analyst Associate Prof Dr Syaza Shukri said that ramifications could extend due to the impact on the Prime Minister's reputation.

However, she said if the situation stabilised, it might not significantly affect the government's first year in power.

"Interestingly, the absence of a J-Kom director-general and the ongoing dissatisfaction over ministerial positions pose a potentially more substantial problem than the current scandal.

"The focus on leadership roles and bureaucratic gaps could overshadow the temporary impact of this controversy," she said when contacted.