A video of Chief Justice Richard Malanjum and Attorney-General Tommy Thomas dancing to the classic Chubby Checker's 60s hit "Let's Twist Again" during the Opening of the Legal Year 2019 gala dinner on Friday night has some politicians losing their "cool"
The video shows the two of them dancing at the legal gala organised by the Sabah Law Society (SLS) at the Magellan Sutera Resort in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, on 18 January.
The video also shows lawyers Siti Kasim and Ambiga Sreenevasan along with Liew Vui Keong, who is the de facto law minister in the Prime Minister's Department.
While the video, which was shot using a phone camera and has since gone viral, shows the CJ and A-G enjoying the legal gala and grooving with the other guests, it has made UMNO Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki release a statement saying the act of them dancing is "an embarrassment to the judicial and legal system of the country".
"The viral video of a dance event involving personalities such as Liew, Malanjum, Thomas and lawyers who are seen as pro-Pakatan Harapan such as Ambiga Sreenevasan and Siti Kasim is an embarrassment to the judicial and legal institutions of this country."
The UMNO Youth chief claims that the viral video has damaged the reputation of the judiciary and their conduct breached ethics and raises issues of conflict of interest.
Asyraf, who called the dancing an"ethical violation", said it is not right for the "chief justice and attorney-general to rub shoulders with politicians and high-profile individuals" as "it courts controversy and erodes the people's trust in their decisions."
The UMNO Youth chief has also found an unlikely ally in PKR's Setiawangsa MP Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, who took to his Twitter account to weigh in on the issue by linking it to a 2016 story about a lawyer taking offence at the then Attorney-General Apandi for dancing with Barisan Nasional ministers at the Merdeka Day parade
"In 2016, we have questioned then A-G and ministers dancing in a Merdeka event. We have to be consistent," he said in his tweet, insisting that judiciary and executive figures must keep their image of impartiality and the integrity of the institution in official events.
A widely-circulated video in 2016 showed a man resembling then A-G Mohd Apandi dancing with BN ministers, including Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, Salleh Said Keruak, Azalina Othman Said, and Nancy Shukri at the Merdeka Day parade.
Then Khairy tried to play smart, tweeting that he doesn't have an issue with A-G Thomas dancing but he's "just trying to recall what PH's position was" when video of former A-G Apandi had surfaced
When others questioned Khairy over his "pointless" tweet, the Rembau MP kept repeating the same line saying that while he doesn't have any issue with anyone dancing, he was "just trying to remember what PH said before when this happened."
However, ordinary Malaysians on the web were having none of it as they shut down the politicians from both sides of the political divide
A Twitter user with handle @blysg02 replied to a tweet by PKR's Nik Nazmi and Nurul Izzah, questioning them how is "dancing to old tunes publicly compromises the perception of independence and integrity of the judiciary? How is it so?"
Another user with handle @AnakSdrBakar replied to both of them, saying it's unbelievable how so many MPs are speaking up about something that is a "non-issue".
On Facebook, a user said that the A-G and CJ are "dancing after their work hours."
"Everyone has a personal life and it's their personal right after that. What's so wrong with it? They didn't dance publicly at the roadside but did so in a closed environment. What's so wrong... Fools?", Ameen added while commenting on a Malaysiakini article.
Ameen's sentiment and views with echoed by other users on Facebook.
"What's wrong if they do the twist? It's better than stealing and robbing the rakyat's money and twist and turn around the story," commented a user named Normah Ibrahim.
"What's the problem with them dancing in the video? Are you saying that the judiciary and cabinet staff can't take time off after work and participate in any social activities (eg.: annual dinner, events, etc)?" Daniel Liew, another user, commented.
Meanwhile, user Indira Naidu asked, "What kind of mentality this person - who is complaining - has?" She added that "Dancing is not a crime."
And when Raja Petra Kamarudin tweeted to further sensationalise the dancing video, Malaysians on Twitter couldn't care less
Meanwhile, Marc Lourdes, Vice President of Digital Content at Astro, showed why the dancing video should not be an issue:
Speaking of viral videos, a half a minute-long video clip had recently gone viral showing the Johor Mentri Besar being stopped from getting into the Proton Saga that was driven by Johor Ruler to drop Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to the airport: