Malaysia sex video saga: I will not be manipulated, says Mahathir

Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad has promised to step down before the next general election as agreed by the Pakatan Harapan coalition before it won last year's polls.PHOTO: REUTERS. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

KUALA LUMPUR, Jul 23, 2019, The Straits Times. Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad, in his strongest rebuke yet over what he views as a political conspiracy behind viral gay sex videos implicating Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali, has made clear that he will not be moved to take action against Datuk Seri Azmin, reported The Straits Times.

In a terse post on his personal blog on Tuesday (July 23), the Prime Minister repeated his claim that the clips of two men engaging in sexual acts were circulated “clearly for political purposes, specifically to block the success of a particular individual”.

“The action that was hoped to be taken after its release is the removal of the targeted individual. This action can be taken by me because I am in power,” he wrote in his blog Chedet.

“I am unwilling to be manipulated, much less by schemers with ill-intent using dirty politics.”

Despite not naming anyone, Tun Dr Mahathir’s statement makes clear that Mr Azmin’s position in Cabinet is safe amid the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) deputy president’s feud with party president Anwar Ibrahim.

Police have said facial recognition of Mr Azmin in the videos that were circulated in early June was negative.

But national police chief Hamid Bador said the release of the footage was masterminded by a leader of a political party, a claim coming just days after Datuk Seri Anwar’s political secretary, Mr Farhash Mubarak, was remanded for a week in relation to the investigations.

Dr Mahathir wrote: “My religion bars me from spying to find flaws in others. What has been done is worse than spying.”

The 94-year-old premier has promised to step down before the next general election, as agreed by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition before it won last year’s polls.

While Mr Anwar is the named successor, Dr Mahathir, his former nemesis, has also said that whoever takes over must have the support of the majority, a statement seen to open the door to alternatives such as Mr Azmin.

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