Malaysian police detain Azmin's accuser, Haziq, in gay sex video scandal

Mr Muhammad Haziq Abdul Aziz (above), who claims that he and Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali are the men in the sex video, has been detained by police. A group aligned to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is supposed to take over as prime minister be
Mr Muhammad Haziq Abdul Aziz (above), who claims that he and Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali are the men in the sex video, has been detained by police. A group aligned to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is supposed to take over as prime minister before the next election, yesterday called on Datuk Seri Azmin to take leave from his duties until investigations are completed. PHOTO: BERNAMA, HAZIQ AZIZ/ FACEBOOK
Mr Muhammad Haziq Abdul Aziz, who claims that he and Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali (above) are the men in the sex video, has been detained by police. A group aligned to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is supposed to take over as prime minister be
Mr Muhammad Haziq Abdul Aziz, who claims that he and Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali (above) are the men in the sex video, has been detained by police. A group aligned to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is supposed to take over as prime minister before the next election, yesterday called on Datuk Seri Azmin to take leave from his duties until investigations are completed. PHOTO: BERNAMA, HAZIQ AZIZ/ FACEBOOK

Govt official picked up at KL airport to aid investigations; Cyber Crime Committee says case is being expedited

Malaysian police detained government official Muhammad Haziq Abdul Aziz yesterday evening, two days after he claimed to have engaged in sex with Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali in video clips that have rocked the country's politics.

The principal private secretary to the Deputy Primary Industries Minister was picked up at Kuala Lumpur International Airport to aid investigations into the case, local media reported.

The scandal has deepened tensions between two rival factions led by Datuk Seri Azmin and prime minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim within the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

National criminal investigation chief Huzir Mohamed told The Straits Times that police will issue an official statement in due course.

Meanwhile, the Cyber Crime Committee, comprising the police's commercial crimes department and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), said yesterday that the sex video case was a top priority.

National police chief Abdul Hamid Bador acknowledged on Thursday that individuals purportedly in the three video clips released on Tuesday could be brought in for questioning.

The committee is ''expediting the matter because this is a case of national importance'', said MCMC chief Al-Ishsal Ishak. ''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 journalists to the groups before releasing the clips.

Mr Azmin, who is PKR deputy president, denied on Wednesday the allegation by Mr Haziq, a youth wing leader from Sarawak. The 27-year-old then alleged on Thursday that their relationship had been going on for three years.

Mr Azmin, 54, calls the videos an attempt to end his political career, and his allies have implied internal sabotage, a claim PKR president Anwar says has no basis.

A group aligned to Datuk Seri Anwar, who is supposed to take over as prime minister before the next election, yesterday called on Mr Azmin to take leave from his duties until investigations are completed.

''We propose Azmin be given leave from his official duties to allow the police and Malaysian Anti- Corruption Commission to conduct their investigations into the sex video. This is to preserve the good name of the Pakatan Harapan government in Putrajaya,'' Otai Reformis chairman Idris Ahmad said.

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 Premier said the clips were fake.

''His actions differ greatly from 1998, when Anwar was sacked and punished before police investigations were 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,'' Dr Idris added.

When asked to respond to the call for him to take leave, Mr Azmin merely thanked Dr Mahathir for defending him over the saga.

Mr Haziq, who claimed the video was taken without his permission on May 11 during the Sandakan by-election at a hotel in Sabah, was suspended on Thursday by his ministry and given three days to ''show cause'', having been absent since the videos were released.

He was not the first person arrested in police investigations into the case. Police on Thursday arrested two opposition politicians, including Umno Supreme Council member Lokman Adam, for refusing to cooperate when police went to search his house in Kajang, Selangor. The other politician nabbed was an opposition member who was in the same house at the time.

Mr Lokman had, on Tuesday, made a police report asking the authorities to investigate the sex video and claims of corruption against Mr Azmin.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2019, with the headline 'Malaysian police detain Azmin’s accuser in sex video scandal'. Print Edition | Subscribe