Malaysian minister Azmin accuses his PKR rivals of being behind gay sex video

Malaysian Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali is accused of having been in a gay sex video with a fellow PKR member. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian Malaysian Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali for the first time openly accused party insiders on Tuesday (June 18) of masterminding the release of the gay sex video in which he allegedly appears, a move set to stoke tensions within Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

Since the video was released on June 11, speculation had been swirling that a rival faction within PKR, led by party president Anwar Ibrahim, could be behind the video's release to weaken Datuk Seri Azmin, a rising political star in the year-old Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.

Asked by reporters on Tuesday if he was convinced the video was an inside job given the recent turn of events, Mr Azmin was quoted as saying by The Star Online: "I am convinced. From the very beginning, I am sure that this has a political agenda, done by certain people who intend to halt my progression in the government as well as in politics.

"Let the people judge the matter, as it has been proven that the perception of who is behind the conspiracy and claims continues to build up," he added.

Meanwhile, Datuk Seri Anwar's political secretary Farhash Wafa Salvador attacked Mr Azmin on Tuesday, saying the minister should step down if the evidence is overwhelmingly against him. "Azmin must quit if he is guilty," he told Malaysiakini online news.

However, Mr Anwar later released a statement saying that he disagreed with Mr Farhash's call for Mr Azmin to step down, adding that investigations should be left to the police.

Mr Azmin has strongly denied he was one of the men featured in the sex video with Mr Haziq Aziz, a PKR member who issued a self-confession video last Wednesday.

Mr Azmin had asked on Sunday how the perpetrators behind the video had access to dozens of phone numbers of PKR's top and middle-rung leaders all over the country.

The video was leaked to these numbers and to the mobile phones of journalists using the WhatsApp messaging service on June 11.

On Tuesday evening, two more video clips were released which allegedly implicate Mr Azmin, to add to the four already in the public domain.

The first new video did not have any images but appeared to be an audio recording of two men chatting and agreeing to meet discreetly at a five-star hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

Another clip, which is being shared on WhatsApp, is taken from a low angle and shows only the torsos and legs of the men. Their faces cannot be seen.

Mr Anwar's political secretary, Mr Farhash, told The Sun Daily online news when contacted on Tuesday: "This whole fiasco is turning into a circus, and they are implicating everyone, including me. It is time those responsible owned up and put the matter to rest so we can move on to more pressing issues."

Tensions have been building up for years between the two PKR factions, and worsened as the party gained more power and political positions, including leading the state government in Selangor, Malaysia's richest state.

Mr Azmin had, on Monday, given a statement to the police as part of investigations by the authorities into the matter.

Mr Anwar on Sunday denied that his supporters were behind the scandal.

He said his position as the premier after Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is secure, as Tun Dr Mahathir and the four PH component parties all supported his ascension.

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