KUALA LUMPUR - Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's political secretary Farhash Wafa Salvador has denied allegations that he was behind the video purportedly featuring Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali having gay sex with a deputy minister's aide.
Speculation on social media had linked Mr Farhash to Mr Haziq Aziz, and he was said to have been uncontactable after the latter's arrest.
Mr Haziq issued a confession last week saying he appeared in the video, and named Datuk Seri Azmin, who is deputy president of Mr Anwar's Parti Keadilan Rakyat, as his sexual partner.
"My name came up all of a sudden because supposedly I was not seen at Anwar's Hari Raya open house. And that I was missing. Let me just clear this up. This whole thing about me being missing was started by Raja Petra Kamaruddin's tweet," Mr Farhash was quoted as saying by The Star daily on Thursday (June 20).
Mr Farhash said blogger Raja Petra had tweeted that he had gone missing, and that there were rumours that he was at the scene when Mr Haziq was arrested at Kuala Lumpur International Airport while attempting to flee Malaysia, where homosexual sex is a criminal offence.
"For me, (Raja Petra) is someone who writes good fiction. I just refused to respond. So I was dragged into this and it was made worse by news reports that I was missing," Mr Farhash said.
He maintained that he had been going about his regular routine at work and that he was in his office during Mr Haziq's arrest.
"In fact, I had to pull up my CCTV recording of where I had been, just to prove that this thing has been blown out of proportion, with people now thinking that I'm part of this whole 'sexpionage'.
"But most of it is just a way to deflect attention. Azmin didn't really say it. But the way the media was asking questions and the way he answered them implied that I am behind the sex video, which is a ridiculous accusation without any proof."
Mr Azmin, 54, has strongly denied being in the video and having any relationship with Mr Haziq, 27.
He has accused PKR insiders of masterminding the spread of the video to kill his political career.
Mr Anwar and Mr Azmin lead rival factions in PKR, with the two groups fighting for political positions.
Mr Haziq claimed that he and Azmin first became intimate in 2016 but had always kept their relationship separate from their duties.
Mr Haziq, who is also a PKR youth division chief, said he began working for Mr Azmin in 2013 while he was a student at Universiti Malaya.
"But we never mixed politics in our relationship," he was quoted as saying by The Sun daily.
Cracks are appearing in the party, with the warring factions led by party president Mr Anwar and his deputy Mr Azmin exchanging harsh words.
Mr Anwar's supporters are calling for Mr Azmin to resign and Mr Azmin's faction is demanding Mr Haziq be sacked from the party.
However, a PKR political bureau meeting chaired by Mr Anwar on Wednesday night decided not to sack Mr Haziq, but instead issue him a letter asking him to explain his actions.
Meanwhile, the two factions are attacking one another according to their loyalties.
PKR Youth secretary Ahmad Syukri Che Ab Razab said that a statement made by its vice-chief Mohd Nazree Mohd Yunos saying that the wing supported Mr Azmin does not reflect its official stand on the matter.
"PKR Youth denies the statements were officially made. They are merely Mohd Nazree's personal opinion," Mr Ahmad Syukri said in a statement.
Deputy police chief Mazlan Mansor said that investigations to determine the authenticity of the sex video are still ongoing.
Meanwhile, Malaysia's Primary Industries Ministry said on Thursday that it has terminated Mr Haziq's contract as principal private secretary to the deputy minister.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday again said that Mr Azmin does not have to go on leave while the police investigations are going on.
Asked on calls for Mr Azmin to take leave, Tun Mahathir replied: “Why? They (police) can continue with the investigation. He is not going to be an obstruction to the investigation."
When told of previous calls by Pakatan Harapan for then-Barisan Nasional ministers to take leave or resign when there were probes against them, Dr Mahathir said if an investigation was about some wrongdoing or crime, the person should take leave.
“But this is a political thing. In fact, it is intended to embarrass him (Azmin) and to ask him to take leave.
“I don’t like this kind of political (play),” the premier said.