Malaysia's economic minister Azmin Ali denies he is man in sex video as scandal rocks country

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

Fast-rising Malaysian politician Azmin Ali yesterday denied being the man at the centre of a sex video, just hours after a young government official claimed the two men seen in the clips were Datuk Seri Azmin and himself.

Both are from Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), a member of the alliance that governs Malaysia.

The spread of the video clips from Tuesday and the so-called confession by Mr Muhammad Haziq Abdul Aziz yesterday have rocked Malaysia, as it brought back bitter memories of the 1998 and 2008 sex scandals involving Mr Anwar and how these had roiled the country.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said last night that he believes the sex video is a 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," Tun 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 could deepen the split within PKR, which is already riven by the rivalry between Mr Anwar and Mr Azmin.

The PKR's key political bureau and Mr Anwar yesterday decided to stand by Mr Azmin, the Economic Affairs Minister, 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."

An extended clip of the sex acts emerged late yesterday, with indications that more clips would follow, in a sign that the attack on Mr Azmin, a potential prime minister to his followers, may be far from over. Mr Azmin is expected to lodge reports today with the police and the Islamic authorities.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 13, 2019, with the headline 'Minister denies he is man in sex video as scandal rocks Malaysia'. Print Edition | Subscribe