A preliminary investigation has found that the sex tapes in Malaysia’s recent scandal were likely created to ruin the career of Economic Affairs minister Azmin Ali.
Azmin, who is also PKR deputy president, previously claimed the videos were spread by fellow PKR leaders.
Among the PKR leaders currently being investigated over the case is party president Anwar Ibrahim’s political secretary.
Anwar said he was “glad” about the preliminary investigation outcome, and claimed he and Azmin were “still a team”.
After police found that the sex tapes claiming to feature Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali were likely part of a political plot to ruin his career, the minister has since declared that he knows who exactly masterminded the tapes.
“I am confident, from the very start, that it was the work of internal politics,” the New Straits Times (NST) quoted PKR deputy president Azmin as saying on Sunday (July 21).
“Let me face the person or people alone, those who I once knew.”
Azmin did not identify who orchestrated the scandal, but previously claimed that PKR leaders were involved.
“There are hidden hands that are worth hundreds, thousands and millions of ringgit (that would like) to see my downfall. I will not be quiet because we do not need a person like this to lead us,” NST quoted him as saying.
As part of the investigation into the authenticity of the tapes, police previously arrested several PKR leaders suspected of distributing the videos, including the political secretary of PKR president Anwar Ibrahim.
While investigations revealed that the sex tapes in question were genuine and not deepfakes, police were unable to identify the men in the videos using facial recognition technology.
Police Inspector-General Abdul Hamid Bador said on Thursday (July 18) that a political party leader had masterminded the plot, and possibly paid “hundreds of thousands of ringgit” to produce the tapes.
He did not name the party in question.
Anwar: “We are glad that Azmin is not involved”
After a highly public spat with Azmin over whether or not he should resign over the scandal, PKR president Anwar Ibrahim said on July 21 that he was “glad” preliminary investigations had cleared his deputy’s name.
“We are glad with the assertion that Azmin is not involved based on the facial recognition process – which has turned out to be negative, as they can’t establish the characters in the sex clip,” The Star quoted him as saying.
In a Facebook post published earlier on July 20, he added that the party would take “firm action” toward those found to have been involved in the scandal.
Azmin responded with a series of tweets on the same day, saying he had taken note of Anwar’s comments.
Setelah meneliti kenyataan penuh YB @anwaribrahim petang ini, saya mengambil maklum pendirian beliau yang menerima hasil siasatan yang diumumkan oleh KPN di mana saya tidak terlibat dalam video yang menjadi bahan fitnah.
— Mohamed Azmin Ali (@AzminAli) July 20, 2019
Saya juga mengambil maklum ketetapan bahawa tindakan tegas akan diambil terhadap pimpinan dan anggota parti yang terlibat dalam sebaran video ini. Ini selari dengan ketegasan saya dari awal bahawa politik kotor dalaman parti mesti diperangi habis habisan.
— Mohamed Azmin Ali (@AzminAli) July 20, 2019
He added on July 22 that he was willing to continue working with Anwar to lead the party.
“He (Anwar) is president and I am the deputy…. we have been together for many decades,” The Star quoted Azmin as saying. He added, however, that his loyalty “has its limits” and that he had “never betrayed (anyone’s) friendship”.
Previously, several PKR members chided Anwar for forgetting that Azmin had been loyal to him “for more than 20 years” amid his own former sex scandal.
Azmin was Anwar’s former political aide, back when the latter was Deputy Prime Minister.
Azmin and Anwar “still a team”
Malaysia’s state media reported that Azmin was absent from a PKR retreat on July 20, where he was initially supposed to speak.
The retreat was attended by 120 of the party’s 140 leaders, and those present signed a resolution expressing their full support for Anwar to lead PKR.
Anwar said those who had missed the event had “reasonable excuses“.
He also echoed Azmin’s statement, telling reporters at the retreat that he and Azmin would still hold regular meetings and discussions, The Star reported.
“There is no problem (with working together),” he said, adding that the two were “still a team”.
- ‘One day you may see my picture also like that’: Mahathir says sex tapes of minister are fake and politically motivated