Anwar in first comments on sex video says he has spoken to Azmin, rejects 'gutter politics'

Parti Keadilan Rakyat Anwar Ibrahim said in a news conference on June 12, 2019, that the party rejects the "gutter politics" that the country is witnessing today.
Parti Keadilan Rakyat Anwar Ibrahim said in a news conference on June 12, 2019, that the party rejects the "gutter politics" that the country is witnessing today.PHOTO: ANWAR IBRAHIM/FACEBOOK

PETALING JAYA - Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), on Wednesday (June 12) issued a closely watched statement involving a sex scandal roiling Malaysia involving his deputy Azmin Ali.

Reading from a statement after the monthly political bureau meeting of PKR, Mr Anwar said the party rejects the "gutter politics" that the country is witnessing today.

"The country must focus on issues of economic and social development, and not be dragged into a dirty cauldron," he said.

"Keadilan hopes that Datuk Seri Azmin and his family will remain calm and patient in facing this big challenge," he added.

Mr Anwar's comments on the issue were his first. These are closely watched amid some suspicion that the PKR factional infighting involving his group and Mr Azmin's group led to the issuing of the sex videos.

The sex clips allegedly involved Mr Azmin, 54, and another man.

Sodomy and oral sex is outlawed in Malaysia, and homosexual relations are deeply taboo, although it currently remains unclear if the sordid video contains evidence of a crime.

Earlier on Wednesday, a politician from PKR who works with the government, Mr Muhammad Haziq Abdul Aziz, 27, said in a Facebook video that he was one of the men featured in the clips.

He named Economic Affairs Minister Azmin as the other man in the clips.

Mr Azmin on Wednesday vehemently denied it was him.

Mr Anwar, 71, before the meeting of the political bureau, told reporters that he had spoken to Mr Azmin over the issue, but did not say what they had discussed.

"I called him on the phone and we had a long discussion. We had a long talk yesterday (June 11)," Mr Anwar said, as quoted by The Star newspaper.

In the statement, Mr Anwar said PKR supports the investigations by police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission into the sex videos and allegations of corruption involving Mr Azmin.

 
 
 
 

He told a news conference: "I thought what I experienced should be the last - unfortunately this trend seems to continue, and it's deplorable, it's sickening, and I do not in any way understand why this should continue, and naturally, I'm strongly opposed to this from the moral POV (point of view), Islamic POV, ethical POV."

He added: "The whole spirit of morality and ethics - this is not the way we should be judged or assessed in politics and society."

Mr Anwar's political career was stunted in 1998 following allegations of sexual misconduct that roiled Malaysian politics for two decades. He rejected the claims and started the Reformasi movement against the Barisan Nasional government that was then led by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Mr Anwar was accused of sodomy a second time in 2008 and jailed in 2014 before being pardoned after Pakatan Harapan triumphed at the May 2018 elections.

Answering a question on whether PKR believes it was an inside job, he said: "We have no evidence to suggest that the party is in any way involved."