Split widens as Azmin allies in PKR hit out at Anwar

PKR president Anwar Ibrahim with his deputy Mohamed Azmin Ali. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: PKR central committee members today criticised Anwar Ibrahim’s call for his deputy Mohamed Azmin Ali to resign from his Cabinet post if the clips in the gay sex video scandal are proven authentic, saying the focus should be on party unity and a stand against gutter politics.

In a joint statement, they said Azmin had denied any involvement in the matter and that Anwar, as PKR president, should stand by his deputy instead of seeking to “undermine him using speculation”.

“Anwar should remember that since Reformasi, the party has defended him against identical tactics using sex videos and other means of gutter politics, even when the police chief in 2011 declared a sex video implicating him as genuine.

“He should remember that Azmin defended him and his family for more than 20 years against the same type of gutter politics,” they said.

The statement was signed by members of the PKR Supreme Council including vice-presidents Zuraida Kamaruddin, Tian Chua and Ali Biju, and women’s chief Haniza Talha.

It was also signed by Tebrau MP Steven Choong, Ranau MP Jonathan Yasin, Puncak Borneo MP Willy Mongin and Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah.

Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Anwar said he initially took the stand that Azmin should not go on leave or resign, but that recent developments should be taken into consideration.

“If the investigation is conclusive in terms of the participants in the so-called act, then I think he needs to resign.

“But if we have not ascertained the truth about the people in the videos, then he has the option to stay,” he told reporters, accompanied by Hang Tuah Jaya MP Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin and Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil.

Shamsul and Fahmi are not among the 27 who signed the statement today.

Those who did said Anwar’s comments were inappropriate and based on “speculative assertions”, and urged him to “stop making such divisive statements”.

“He should be focusing on the key issue here, which is that there is an organised attempt to use gutter politics to bring down political leaders,” they said.

“He should be more concerned about the criminal offences committed by this group who have systematically and widely distributed a video displaying sexual acts.”

The statement was also signed by Edmund Santhara, Amirudin Shaari, Rashid Hasnon, R Sivarasa, Rahimah Majid, Elizabeth Wong, Xavier Jayakumar, Saifuddin Abdullah, Zakaria Abdul Hamid, Radzlan Jalaludin, Mansor Othman, Kamarudin Jaafar, Azmizam Zaman Huri, Gan Pei Nei, Hee Loy Sian, Lee Kai Loon, Baru Bian, Dr Daroyah Alwi and Muhammad Hilman Idham.

Police have so far arrested nine people for distributing the clips, including former Santubong PKR Youth chief Haziq Aziz, who openly admitted that he was one of two men shown in the videos.

Haziq also named Azmin as the other man, a claim rejected by the economic affairs minister who pointed fingers at a conspiracy to end his political career.