Malaysia's economic minister Azmin Ali denies he is man in gay sex video, says claims were a 'nefarious plot'

In his first comments since the video started circulating early on Tuesday, Malaysia's Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali said he has instructed his lawyers to take appropriate action.
In his first comments since the video started circulating early on Tuesday, Malaysia's Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali said he has instructed his lawyers to take appropriate action.PHOTO: CHINA PRESS

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali on Wednesday (June 12) categorically denied that he was the man in a widely circulated gay sex video that has rocked the country's politics, saying the claims were a "nefarious plot to assassinate my reputation and character in an attempt to destroy my career".

“I categorically deny this vicious libel upon me. This is nothing but a nefarious plot to assassinate my reputation and character in an attempt to destroy my political career,” he said in a statement released on Wednesday afternoon.

“Judging from recent political developments, this is clearly the latest in a series of concerted attempts over the past few months to vilify me, which includes intimidation against the safety of my family and I in the final week of Ramadan, and vile and baseless accusations of corruption,” he said.

Condemning what he called “this brand of gutter politics”, he added that his lawyers would take legal action against “the individual who made these abominable allegations as well as against other perpetrators”.

Earlier on Wednesday, a young government official said in a video confession posted on his Facebook that he and a Cabinet minister were in the sex video that had been released to reporters and politicians. The official, Mr Muhammad Haziq Abdul Aziz, named Datuk Seri Azmin, 54, as the minister in the video.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Wednesday (June 12) night that he believes the sex video is fake, noting that technology would allow such images to be fabricated.

“I do not believe this is genuine. Nowadays, we can do a lot of things with videos and pictures if we are good at it,” Dr Mahathir said, according to Malaysiakini news website. 

“Perhaps one day you will see my picture in this kind of production,” he told reporters at an event in Shah Alam.

The claims by Mr Haziq, 27, could deepen the split within Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), which is already riven by the rivalry between Mr Azmin, PKR's deputy president and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, PKR's president. Mr Haziq is a youth member of PKR.

The PKR’s key political bureau and Mr Anwar on Wednesday decided to stand by Mr Azmin, saying they rejected “gutter politics”.

Mr Anwar said: “I thought what I experienced should be the last – unfortunately this trend seems to continue, and it’s deplorable, it’s sickening.”

Mr Haziq had said that Mr Azmin was not fit to be a leader, urging the authorities to investigate the minister for corruption. Clips of the video were accompanied by screen grabs of alleged money transfers into Mr Azmin's bank accounts though there were no details released about how the bank records related to corruption.

Mr Haziq is currently the principal private secretary to deputy minister of primary industries and commodities, Mr Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin.

 
 
 
 

"I, Haziq Aziz, am hereby making a sworn confession that I am the individual with (the minister) in the video which went viral yesterday,” he had said in a video on his Facebook page early on Wednesday morning.

"The video was taken without my permission on May 11 during the Sandakan by-election in (his) room at the Four Points Hotel."

"I urge the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) to investigate (him) for corruption. He is not an individual who is qualified to be a leader.”

The sordid video clips and photos of two men in a hotel room started making their rounds on Tuesday after reporters were added to WhatsApp groups created by unknown persons.

Umno supreme council member Lokman Noor Adam on Tuesday lodged a police report over the matter, saying, "I want the police to investigate the authenticity of the videos, who has been spreading the videos, and also the 'actors' involved", and adding that their "acting was not very good".