Haziq was the best man for aide’s position, says deputy minister

Deputy Primary Industries Minister Shamsul Iskandar.

PETALING JAYA: Deputy Primary Industries Minister Shamsul Iskandar has explained his appointment of Haziq Aziz, who is at the centre of a gay sex video scandal, as his aide in the ministry, saying the PKR youth leader was the best bet for the job.

In a statement, Shamsul said he appointed Haziq after his previous aide resigned, and while he had received other application letters, he decided on Haziq after taking into account his academic qualifications, administrative experience and the ministry’s need for East Malaysian representation.

He said Haziq had a long history with PKR having joined the party at the age of 19.

“I got to know Haziq in 2012 when he founded and led Mahasiswa PKR Universiti Malaya, a student wing of PKR,” he said.

Shamsul said that before joining the primary industries ministry, Haziq had worked with some PKR leaders, including interning at Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian’s law firm and Lawyers for Liberty, along with Sivarasa Rasiah, Latheefa Koya and N Surendran.

He also interned at Rafizi Ramli’s Invoke and at then Selangor menteri besar Azmin Ali’s office, among others.

“He had also helped me in matters related to parliamentary research and as a coordinator to youth leaders in PKR,” he said.

Shamsul said that Haziq, who was also an aide to former minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri, never joined her party, PBB, and that this was confirmed by the party’s executive secretary.

He said that Haziq’s involvement then was as an intern from the Perdana Fellowship programme and that he never left PKR.

Shamsul said Haziq’s recent actions were shocking and unexpected.

“I urge all parties who are making baseless claims and wild allegations that I have an agenda in appointing Haziq to stop these claims,” he said, adding that he rejected gutter politics.

“Let us give room to the relevant parties to investigate and let us focus on key issues affecting the public.”

Last week, Haziq admitted that he was one of two men filmed engaging in homosexual acts at a hotel in Sandakan during the by-election in May. He named Economic Affairs Minister Azmin as the other person in the video.

Azmin, who is also the PKR deputy president, strongly denied the claim. The police are investigating the matter.