Indonesia is grappling with its first real political sex scandal — a widely circulated video of one of its most powerful politicians in a hotel room with a popular singer.
Politicians have taken care to keep their lives private in this predominantly Islamic country. Many have playboy reputations but none has been caught on tape.
The politician, Yahya Zaini, is parliamentary secretary of the Golkar Party, the biggest in Indonesia, and head of its religious affairs committee, which has responsibility for moral issues.
Vice-President and Golkar Party chief Jusuf Kalla said the tape must be verified. "The woman in the video could be his wife, who knows? If that is the case, the one distributing the video must be held responsible," he said.
Mr Zaini, who is married, flew back from a parliamentary study tour in Australia at the weekend, as news of the tape spread. He is in hiding in Jakarta.
The singer, Maria Eva
, admitted making the tape, but denied distributing it. During a tearful press conference last night
, Eva said she had loved Mr Zaini, but their affair ended two years ago. She said she had been pregnant and was pressured to have an abortion by him and his wife.
Eva said Mr Zaini had financed her first album.
She said she had tried to forget the episode and was now a participant in a Koran reading class at the home of Din Syamsudin, chairman of Indonesia's peak religious body.
Eva has appeared in several miniseries, including the Islamic-oriented Divine Blessing soap opera.
It is believed the video was shot as she and Mr Zaini campaigned for Golkar. It was sent to a number of mobile phones and email addresses last week.
Eva's lawyer, Ruhut Sitompul, said Golkar figures had sent her an open plane ticket and told her to leave for Singapore for her safety.
Islamic leaders and political parties have been campaigning for tougher morality laws in Indonesia, including outlawing pornography and public displays of affection. They want harsh action taken against Mr Zaini.
Party deputy chairman Agung Laksono heads Golkar's investigative team. "The team's main task is to investigate whether the porn video is authentic, determine what kind of violation the legislator committed and make recommendations on what actions the party should take," he said.