KUALA LUMPUR - A Pakatan Harapan (PH) state lawmaker and two special officers to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's political secretary and Youth Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman were among 17 individuals arrested for illegal drug use and gambling in the wee hours of Sunday (Jan 12).
Another person arrested is an officer at Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) which is led by Tun Mahathir.
Five of those nabbed were women, Malaysia's police chief Abdul Hamid Bador told a news conference on Monday (Jan 13) afternoon. But he refused to identify any of those arrested at what he said was a "private drug party"
The Inspector-General of Police said they were all released on bail later except for an unidentified foreigner.
The embarrassing arrests come at a time when PH's popularity has nosedived as it struggles to fulfill its election promises.
Earlier this month, a Magistrate's Court in Kuala Lumpur ordered 32-year-old Ahmad Saiful Islam Mohamad - the son of Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu - to enter his defence on a charge of drug use, allegedly committed at an upscale hotel in KL last year.
The four men who were nabbed on Sunday - Dengkil (Selangor) state assemblyman Adhif Syan Abdullah, and political aides Muhammad Fadzil Mohd Ahmad, Ahmad Redzuan Mohamed Shafi and Piji Jihat - were detained during a police bust at 4.45am at an office space in Puchong, Selangor state, following complaints of loud noise.
The private party is believed to be hosted by the owner of the premises, who is also a friend to Mr Adhif, 38.
PPBM president and Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in a statement said he will leave the matter to the authorities and won't interfere in the investigation.
"I also would like to clarify that Pizi bin Jihat is an officer at the party (PPBM) headquarters and is not my special officer as what has been reported" by local media.
Mr Adhif is also the Selangor Youth chief for PPBM, one of the four component parties of PH.
The four men tested positive for drugs, as did 12 others who were arrested, police sources said. One of those arrested tested negative.
At the time of the arrests, it was learnt that the group was allegedly high on drugs.
News of Mr Adhif and the other officers' arrests was confirmed by PPBM vice-president and Selangor PPBM chairman Abdul Rashid Asari, despite the denial by the man himself.
Mr Adhif initially denied through Malaysiakini news site that he was arrested, claiming he was at home at the time. He later changed his story, telling reporters from Harian Metro newspaper that he was at the condominium in the early hours of Sunday to attend a discussion.
Datuk Abdul Rashid, as quoted by New Straits Times newspaper on Monday (Jan 13) said: "Yes, he (Adhif) was arrested. That is confirmed. I have checked with the Home Ministry and that was the information I received. The matter is now under investigation, so I do not want to make further comment on that."
Following the arrests, Mr Saddiq moved to suspend his officer, Ahmad Redzuan, 29, after he was informed by the police, adding that he would leave the matter up to the authorities.
"I was already informed of the arrest of the officer by the police... I will also suspend the duties of the Youth and Sports Ministry officer that was involved while awaiting investigations to be finalised," he said in a media statement on Monday.