Malaysian authorities focus on finding hidden hands in gay sex video

Mr Muhammad Haziq Abdul Aziz (above), a Sarawak Parti Keadilan Rakyat youth leader, has said that he is one of the men featured in the video clips.
Mr Muhammad Haziq Abdul Aziz (above), a Sarawak Parti Keadilan Rakyat youth leader, has said that he is one of the men featured in the video clips.PHOTO: HAZIQ AZIZ/FACEBOOK

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian enforcers say they have given top priority to dig up facts behind the explosive sex videos allegedly featuring Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali and a young government official, even as tensions deepened between the two factions of the ruling Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) on Friday (June 14).

Malaysia's high-level Cyber Crime Committee are "expediting the matter because this is a case of national importance", said Al-Ishsal Ishak, chief of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

The committee comprises MCMC and the Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) of the national police.

"As Malaysians, we don't want to live among this kind of people - who unnecessarily abuse the technology to spread vulgar and obscene content," he told reporters at MCMC's headquarters in Putrajaya, adding it was clear to the public that the leak was premeditated.

WhatsApp groups were created early on Tuesday by anonymous individuals who added in the names of journalists as members of the groups, before releasing the clips.

A Sarawak PKR youth leader, Muhammad Haziq Abdul Aziz, on Wednesday said in a Facebook video that he and Datuk Seri Azmin were the two men in the video. Mr Azmin, 54, denied the allegations that evening and called it a plot to end his political career. But just hours later, another clip of the purported act was released.

Mr Haziq, 27, the principal private secretary at the Primary Industries Ministry, then alleged on Thursday that their relationship had been going on for three years.

Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador said on Thursday that police could call up individuals said to be in the clips in their investigations.

Questions had been raised on whether the authorities could trace the individuals who released the video clips to journalists on Tuesday, even while hiding their phone numbers, as buyers of SIM cards must register with their identity cards.

 
 
 
 

But MCMC's Mr Al-Ishsal lamented the lack of regulation in registering mobile numbers, as SIM cards can be purchased on behalf of others.

The MCMC, he said, has from Tuesday taken measures to block online sites from showing the video.

Mr Haziq, who claimed the video was taken without his permission on May 11 during the Sandakan by-election at the Four Points Hotel there, was suspended on Thursday by his ministry and given three days to "show cause", having been absent since the videos were released.

The scandal has deepened tensions in PKR, with deputy president Mr Azmin and his allies strongly implying internal sabotage, a claim that party president Anwar Ibrahim says is without basis.

A group of pro-Anwar activists and politicians on Friday called on Mr Azmin to go on leave during the probe into the video and claims of graft.

"We propose Azmin be given leave from his official duties to allow the police and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to conduct its investigations into the sex video. This is to preserve the good name of the Pakatan Harapan government in Putrajaya," Otai Reformis chairman Idris Ahmad told a press conference.

Dr Idris, a Selangor PKR assemblyman who lost out to Mr Azmin's protege Amirudin Shari last year for the Selangor chief ministership, also cast aspersions on Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's "interference in the sex video issue", after the Prime Minister said the clips were fake.

"His actions differ greatly from 1998, when Anwar was sacked and punished before police investigations was done and the court had reached its verdict. But in 2019, Dr Mahathir's statement is completely different. We hope Dr Mahathir will not practise double standards and be one-sided in commenting on the video," he added.