SHAH ALAM (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - As he pledged loyalty to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Datuk Seri Azmin Ali warned those who try to bring him down that his loyalty has a limit.
Malaysia's Economic Affairs Minister, however, insisted that he was not referring to anyone specific.
Mr Azmin also said that he will work with PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who extended an olive branch on Saturday (July 20) at a retreat which Mr Azmin and his allies did not attend.
"Yes (I will work with Anwar). He is president and I'm the deputy.
"Don't provoke the president and deputy president. We have been together for many decades," he said to the media at a gathering on Sunday attended by hundreds of people comprising PKR leaders and members.
Mr Azmin said that he held the thanksgiving gathering at Selangor Mentri Besar Amirudin Shari's official residence to thank those who had supported him all along while he was "slandered for five weeks" over a gay sex video.
Earlier, during an hour-long speech, Mr Azmin said that he will never betray a friendship.
"For five weeks, my family and I have been slandered. I did not drag the people for their support, but I know from feedback, the people supported me.
"Authorities have also conducted investigations. Doctors and police questioned me and I gave my cooperation because I'm innocent.
"The Inspector-General of Police, Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador, himself has verified there were invisible hands involved with hundreds of thousands of ringgit spent to bring me down. You may plan with the big towkays but God disposes.
"I have never betrayed friendship but when there is someone who betrays the struggle of the people, I will not back down," said Mr Azmin to a cheering crowd.
He also pledged his loyalty to Dr Mahathir, who he said has advised him to concentrate on improving the country's economy.
"The 94-year-old (Dr Mahathir) has values and principles, but there are those who are less old with no values. It is time that we are not afraid in this struggle. We defend the right and fight the wrong.
"We ask the young to vote but the young cannot accept gutter politics. They want to see a government with values, but there is still a group who is willing to play gutter politics. I promise to stand up to any attacks against me.
"I am not surprised at what has happened as I know who is behind this. I know, but we leave it to the authorities.
"I may look calm but do not think my calmness has nothing lurking. Do not insinuate. I will remain loyal to the PM. I will not be led by the nose but by principles.
"Do not scold those who had to be absent from party meetings because they have to work," he added, referring to those who did not attend the PKR retreat on Saturday.
A number of PKR central leadership council members and 15 MPs did not show up at the event.
The feud between Mr Anwar and Mr Azmin escalated recently after a viral sex video made its rounds last month.
Mr Anwar said that Mr Azmin should resign if he indeed was identified as one of the two men in the video.
Mr Azmin retaliated by telling Mr Anwar to "look in the mirror".
Last Thursday (July 18), tensions intensified within the party when 23 out of 64 PKR central leadership members released a statement condemning Mr Anwar for not supporting Mr Azmin over allegations of gay sex which he has denied.
They also reminded Mr Anwar that the party had stood by him when he was ousted as deputy premier in 1998 amid sodomy allegations.
The IGP has said that CyberSecurity Malaysia could not identify those in the video through facial recognition.
Mr Anwar later softened his stance at the PKR retreat and said he accepted it was not Mr Azmin in the video.
Mr Anwar also said that both he and Mr Azmin were still a team.
As of July 21, police have arrested and remanded 11 men in connection with the sex video.
Among them are former PKR member Haziq Aziz and Mr Anwar's political secretary and Perak PKR chief Farhash Wafa Salvador Rizal Mubarak.
Mr Haziq has confessed publicly that he was one of the two men in the video and alleged that the other person was Mr Azmin.