Hazlin Hassan – Straits Times Indonesia
Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia’s latest sex video scandal took another dramatic turn Wednesday, when former Malacca chief minister Rahim Tamby Chik and a prominent businessman – both with close ties to the ruling party – revealed that they were behind the expose.
Tan Sri Rahim and Datuk Shazryl Eskay Abdullah disclosed this at a hastily organized press conference after the opposition accused them of being behind the leak of the video. A third person, a less-well-known man named Shuib Lazim, was also involved, but he was not present Wednesday.
Rahim told reporters that there was no such person as “Datuk T,” named in Malaysian media reports as the man who called up journalists on Monday to show them a graphic sex video featuring a man who looked like opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.
Instead, Rahim said, “Datuk T” was a collective moniker for himself, Shazryl and Shuib.
Shazryl said he was the one who found the video, and that he took it to the other two men to decide what to do with it.
Reporters yesterday said they now recognized him as the mystery man they had met at the upscale Carcosa Seri Negara hotel where the video was revealed on Monday.
Shazryl, a former Thai consul in Malaysia, is a Kedah businessman currently embroiled in a court case involving a dispute over the proposed “crooked bridge” to replace the Causeway leading to Singapore.
The trio’s involvement was leaked to some blogs Wednesday, and also came to light when opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) MP Johari Abdul said he was taken by a close acquaintance to a hotel in Ampang on Monday.
They were then driven to another hotel by two men and taken to a suite, where Johari met Rahim and Shazril. He was then shown the video.
The two men stayed while he watched, with Shazryl giving a running commentary and Rahim making disparaging remarks about Anwar.
Johari claimed that Rahim tried to persuade him to leave PKR.
“He promised to take me to see Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak,” Johari said, adding that Rahim also promised to take care of his security and finances.
He was also asked to take more PKR MPs to view the tape.
Johari also said that Shazryl claimed to have frequently taken Anwar to a club and to Thailand for sex, and was worried such recordings could fall into the hands of Thai intelligence.
But Johari was convinced the man in the video was not Anwar. He said the man’s shoulders were too broad and firm, his buttocks were bigger, he had a pot belly and he was too fair-complexioned.
Shazryl insisted he was “100 per cent” sure it was Anwar, and told reporters yesterday: “I know it is Anwar because I am in the tape. I was there. I picked it [the video] up.”
Probed about his exact role, he declined to answer, and simply said he would tell the police if asked.
Reporters who saw the video said it showed two men in a room, before one of them had sex with a woman.
Shazryl said he was a friend of Anwar’s, but felt “used by Anwar for far too long.” He did not elaborate. He said that after he found the video, he went to Shuib and Rahim – whom he described as long-time friends.
Rahim said: “When Shazryl found out about the video, I felt that the public and especially the media should know.”
He added that he was the one who chose the Carcosa hotel for Monday’s screenings “because it is safe.”
“Anwar, with all his ambitions of becoming prime minister, and Malaysia’s standing in Islam… We must not accept a leader with questionable morals,” he said.
Both men denied that the video was a ploy by the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) to derail the opposition, saying nobody else was involved.
Rahim also accused Johari of demanding money to defect from PKR, and called for a Royal Commission of Inquiry to probe the authenticity of the video.
UMNO leaders distanced themselves from the trio.
“We are a party of three million members,” Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Aziz was quoted as saying by the Malaysian Insider news website.
“If one or two use their individual right to pursue this, there is nothing we can do.”
Reprinted courtesy of Straits Times Indonesia. To subscribe to Straits Times Indonesia and/or the Jakarta Globe call 2553 5055.