Mahathir unaware of sex video allegedly involving minister

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (far right) with Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali at a press conference in Putrajaya yesterday. Umno supreme council member Lokman Noor Adam has called on Malaysia's graft busters to investigate an alleged
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (right) with Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali at a press conference in Putrajaya yesterday. Umno supreme council member Lokman Noor Adam has called on Malaysia's graft busters to investigate an allegedly suspicious transaction involving the bank account of Datuk Seri Azmin. PHOTO: BERNAMA

PUTRAJAYA • Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad yesterday denied knowledge of the spread of a sex video and several lewd photographs purportedly involving a Cabinet minister, The Star reported.

The video and photos where two men - one of whom resembles a Cabinet minister - appeared to be engaging in sexual acts, began spreading via WhatsApp early on Monday morning.

"I do not know anything. I have just heard, I would have to read up on it," Tun Dr Mahathir said in response to a question by a reporter during a press conference in Putrajaya.

The Malaysiakini news website said the video and pictures were shared in a number of WhatsApp group chats with reporters, adding that the participants in the group chats included several Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) leaders in Sabah and Sarawak.

The authenticity of the images could not be verified. The website said that the name of one of the creators of the group chats was listed as "Saifuddin Abdullah", while another was identified as "Tian Chua".

But PKR vice-president Tian Chua, who was attending a conference in Geneva, Switzerland, told Malaysiakini that the WhatsApp group chat did not belong to him, while fellow PKR member, Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah, said he was not the person behind the WhatsApp group.

Meanwhile, Umno supreme council member Lokman Noor Adam has lodged a police report over the images, The Star reported. While he did not name any names, he told the media that it was clear which politician one of the men in the video resembled.

PROBE AUTHENTICITY

I want the police to investigate the authenticity of the videos, who has been spreading the videos and also the 'actors' involved... (Their) acting was not very good.

UMNO SUPREME COUNCIL MEMBER LOKMAN NOOR ADAM, who has also lodged a police report over the images.

"I want the police to investigate the authenticity of the videos, who has been spreading the videos and also the 'actors' involved," he said after arriving at the district police headquarters in Putrajaya, adding that their "acting was not very good".

Datuk Lokman, who was at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters earlier, also called on the graft busters to investigate an allegedly suspicious transaction involving the bank account of Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali.

He said the alleged transaction of around RM3 million (S$983,000) occurred in December 2017, when Datuk Seri Azmin was still the Menteri Besar of Selangor.

"I make this report hoping that the new MACC chief will act without bias and will take action against any parties, including those from her (former) political party," he said, referring to Ms Latheefa Koya, who resigned as a member of the PKR after being appointed head of the anti-graft agency on June 1.

Mr Lokman said that the office of Attorney-General Tommy Thomas should act on the allegations if they are true.

Mr Lokman also alleged that Dr Mahathir was seeking to make opposition party Umno an illegal party, while poaching its members over to his Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia in a bid to boost its dominance in the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition.

"This is for them to be the dominant party in Pakatan Harapan. I call my fellow friends in Umno to think this through and thank those who have been approached by Tun but rejected his offer," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 12, 2019, with the headline 'Mahathir unaware of sex video allegedly involving minister'. Print Edition | Subscribe