KUALA LUMPUR: PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's move to call for Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali to resign from his Cabinet post should the alleged sex clip implicating the latter be true has earned criticism from 28 fellow party leaders.
In a joint statement today, they labelled Anwar's statement yesterday as inappropriate and based on speculative assertions.
“He (Anwar) 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.
“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 read.
Among those who signed the statement were vice-presidents Zuraida Kamaruddin, Tian Chua, Ali Biju; PKR Wanita chief Haniza Talha, deputy party secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Edmund Santhara; and party central leadership council members Amirudin Shari, Sivarasa Rasiah, Elizabeth Wong, Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah and Baru Bian.
Speaking to reporters yesterday, Anwar said the Economic Affairs minister should take leave from his office if he was indeed proven to be the other man in the sex video, as claimed by former Santubong PKR youth chief Muhammad Haziq Abdul Aziz.
Mohamed Azmin, in an immediate response to Anwar's statement, had said that his boss “should look at the man in the mirror” and “muhasabah” (self-reflect).
Last month, a sex video showing two men engaging in sexual acts went viral.
The next day, Muhammad Haziq publicly claimed in a Facebook video that the clip was of him and Mohamed Azmin having sex recorded at a hotel in Sandakan, during the constituency’s parliamentary by-election campaign period.
Mohamed Azmin has since denied the allegation.
In the beginning, Anwar said that there was no need for Mohamed Azmin who is also deputy PKR president to resign from his position as Economic Affairs Minister.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had also expressed similar opinion and described the scandal as a “political strategy by certain quarters” against Mohamed Azmin.
Appearing upset with Anwar’s supposed change in stand, the 28 PKR leaders also reminded the Port Dickson MP of his own past when he was twice accused of sodomy.
“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 (had) declared a sex video implicating him as genuine.
“He should remember that Azmin has defended him and his family for more than 20 years against the same type of gutter politics.
“We urge Anwar as the party president to stop making such divisive statements. We call upon him to work instead to unite the party in the interest of our members, Pakatan Harapan and our country.”
Anwar was jailed five years in February 2015 upon conviction for sodomy.
In the year 2000, he was sentenced to nine years in jail for abuse of power and sexual offence.
In May 2018, Pakatan Harapan won the 14th general election, and he was granted a full royal pardon with his convictions expunged from all records.