PH lawmaker among 17 nabbed by police in drug operation

Aides to top Malaysian officials also held; arrests come amid falling popularity of PH govt

Selangor state assemblyman Adhif Syan Abdullah is among a group of 17 detained during a police raid at an office space in Puchong, Selangor state, early on Sunday. PHOTO: ADHIF SYAN ABDULLAH / FACEBOOK
Selangor state assemblyman Adhif Syan Abdullah is among a group of 17 detained during a police raid at an office space in Puchong, Selangor state, early on Sunday.PHOTO: ADHIF SYAN ABDULLAH / FACEBOOK

A Pakatan Harapan (PH) state lawmaker and two special officers to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's political secretary and Youth Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman were among 17 individuals arrested for illegal drug use and gambling early on Sunday.

Another person arrested is an officer at Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), which is led by Tun Dr Mahathir.

Five of those nabbed are women, Malaysia's police chief Abdul Hamid Bador told a news conference yesterday. He did not identify any of those arrested at what he said was a "private drug party".

The Inspector-General of Police said all those arrested have been released on bail, except for an unidentified foreigner.

The embarrassing arrests come at a time when the popularity of the PH government has nosedived, amid its struggles to fulfil its election promises.

Earlier this month, a Magistrate's Court in Kuala Lumpur ordered 32-year-old Ahmad Saiful Islam Mohamad - the son of Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu - to enter his defence on a charge of drug use, allegedly committed at an upscale hotel in KL last year.

Four of those nabbed on Sunday - Selangor state assemblyman Adhif Syan Abdullah, and political aides Muhammad Fadzil Mohd Ahmad, Ahmad Redzuan Mohamed Shafi and Piji Jihat - were detained during a police raid at 4.45am at an office space in Puchong, Selangor state, following complaints of loud noise.

It is believed the private party was hosted by the owner of the premises, who is Mr Adhif's friend.

PPBM president and Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said in a statement that he will not interfere in the investigation.

"I also would like to clarify that Pizi Jihat is an officer at the party (PPBM) headquarters and is not my special officer, as reported" by local media, he added.

Mr Adhif, 38, is also the Selangor Youth chief for PPBM, one of the four component parties of PH.


The four men tested positive for drugs, as did 12 others who were arrested, police sources said. The remaining person arrested tested negative. It is believed that the group was high on drugs when arrested.

News of the arrest of Mr Adhif and the other officers was confirmed by PPBM vice-president and Selangor PPBM chairman Abdul Rashid Asari, despite an early denial by the politician.

Mr Adhif had initially denied through Malaysiakini news site that he was arrested, claiming he was at home at the time. But he later changed his story, telling reporters from Harian Metro newspaper that he was at the condominium in the early hours of Sunday to attend a discussion.

Datuk Abdul Rashid was quoted by New Straits Times yesterday as saying: "Yes, he (Adhif) was arrested. That is confirmed. I have checked with the Home Ministry and that was the information I received. The matter is now under investigation, so I do not want to make further comment."

Following the arrests, Mr Saddiq yesterday moved to suspend his officer, Ahmad Redzuan, 29. He said he would leave the matter up to the authorities.

"I was already informed of the arrest of the officer by the police... I will also suspend the duties of the Youth and Sports Ministry officer that was involved while awaiting investigations to be finalised," he said in a statement.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 14, 2020, with the headline 'PH lawmaker among 17 nabbed by police in drug operation'. Subscribe