World

Anwar’s political secretary arrested

He was nabbed in connection with the ongoing gay sex video scandal

KUALA LUMPUR The heat concerning the sex video scandal in Malaysia went up a notch yesterday with the arrest of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Anwar Ibrahim's political secretary.

Mr Farhash Wafa Salvador Rizal Mubarak, who is also PKR's Perak state chief, was among the three more men arrested on Monday night, official and legal sources told The Straits Times.

The political secretary to Mr Anwar had previously denied any involvement in the circulation of the clips and instead called on PKR deputy president Azmin to resign "if the evidence is overwhelmingly against him".

Another six, including former Sarawak-based party youth leader Haziq Aziz - who had claimed Mr Azmin and himself were the two men in the videos - were detained on Sunday and are in remand until Saturday.

Mr Azmin, who observers say is a growing threat to Mr Anwar's position as the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition's next Prime Minister, has denied being in the video and claims a conspiracy from within the party.

Asked about Mr Farhash's arrest, Mr Anwar said he was surprised and unsure why he was detained.

However, he said that the police had their reasons and that the investigations should "proceed according to its course".

When asked his opinion on insinuations that Mr Farhash was linked to some "higher-up masterminds" within the party, Mr Anwar quipped; "Higher than me is Azizah (his wife and Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail)."

SPLIT?

Asked if the scandal had caused a split within PKR, Mr Anwar said that almost 80 per cent of party state leaders had contacted him.

"They said that they are behind the party's leadership on this. Let the police investigate."

Mr Anwar also said Mr Azmin should resign if he is conclusively identified as one of the two men in the recent viral sex video.

The PKR president said although his initial views were that Mr Azmin need not resign, recent developments in the investigations had to be taken into consideration.

"If the investigations are conclusive, then he needs to resign, but if we have not ascertained the truth of the two guys in the video then he (Azmin) has the option.

"It is subject to whether the police or the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission ... have ascertained the veracity of the video. And if he is identified conclusively, then he needs to resign," said Mr Anwar during a press conference at the Parliament lobby yesterday.

Mr Azmin Ali hit back, saying Mr Anwar should "look at the man in the mirror".

"Read my lips … Tell him he must look at the man in the mirror," he told reporters at the Parliament lobby yesterday.

Asked to explain his comments, Mr Azmin said: "Ask Anwar to reflect on his own actions ."

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad also weighed in on the matter, saying it was a political scheme that was definitely intended to prevent somebody from succeeding in politics.

"I think you know the whole thing is about politics.

"It is not about exposing somebody's wrongdoings. It is about politics, in order to prevent somebody from being able to succeed in politics."

Dr Mahathir also said that Mr Azmin need not go on leave pending the outcome of the investigations on the video.

- THE STAR, THE STRAITS TIMES

WORLD