Azmin, do the honourable thing: Go on leave — Mohd Sulaiman Hakim Shah

JUNE 19 — First, a caveat: I am no expert in Malaysian politics and have only cursory knowledge about its intricacies. But I think I speak for most Malaysians who are put off by the whole gay sex video debacle which has implicated a senior Minister, Mohamed Azmin Ali.

Sex videos appear to be a favourite tool to bring down politicians, going by our history. I only remember one involving a former MCA politician but there were a few before and after that, but whose names I cannot recall. Neither do I want to Google it up because it puts me off.

Back to the current saga, I hold by the principle that one is innocent until proven guilty. No matter if there’s a confession or if the image clearly looks like certain individuals, there are due processes in this country. One can only be convicted by a court of law —  not the court of public opinion.

Having established that, and in keeping with global practices of good governance, it is incumbent upon Azmin to take leave of absence. As a public office bearer, one must not only be clean, but be seen to be so.

By taking leave, Azmin will allow the authorities a free hand to conduct their investigations into the matter. He or she will not be seen to be asserting unnecessary pressure into the due legal processes. Further, if the Minister is cleared of any wrongdoings by the authorities, he can return to his office, after having upheld principles of transparency.

Pardon my political ignorance, but taking leave does not amount to admission of guilt. On the contrary, it demonstrates a person’s integrity. And I do not see why the Prime Minister will not admit Azmin back into the Cabinet if the latter did not commit any wrongdoings. In fact, the PM would have more reasons to welcome back the Minister for walking the path of integrity.

Another reason why Azmin should consider taking leave is to quell the uneasiness within the political circles. It appears that those out to get him want Azmin out for good. These people are spending much effort and resources plotting and scheming. By taking a break, Azmin can help reduce the political tension and allow politicians to focus on what we put them there for in the first place — govern the nation!

Taking leave is not the same as resigning. The former is taking a backseat temporarily and allowing the dust to settle. As someone who has denied any wrongdoings, taking leave would have been the honourable thing for Azmin to do.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.