Azmin ‘free to leave or stay’

by NG MIN SHEN / pic by BERNAMA

PRIME Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said any leader accused of wrongdoing is free to take leave or continue with their duties, as a person is innocent until proven guilty.

“You can take leave or you can carry on. You are not guilty until proven (so),” Dr Mahathir told reporters after the launch of the Beyond Paradigm Summit 2019 at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre yesterday.

Dr Mahathir said this when asked to comment on calls made by several leaders demanding Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali (picture) to take leave from his post pending investigation on a sex video implicating him and former Santubong PKR Youth chief Haziq Aziz.

When asked whether he is aware of the arrest of nine people by the police, including Perak PKR state chief Farhash Wafa Salvador Rizal Mubarak over the distribution of the video, Dr Mahathir said it is new information to him.

“This is the first time I’m hearing it. It’s new,” he said.

The PM also described the sex video as a political scheme, aimed to prevent someone from succeeding.

“Well, I think you know the whole thing is about politics. It’s not about exposing somebody’s wrongdoings, it is about politics in order to prevent somebody from being able to succeed in politics.”

“There is a political scheme that is definitely intended to prevent somebody from succeeding,” he said.

On Tuesday, PKR information chief Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Md Akin said any leader who is implicated in wrongdoing should go on leave.

“This step is important as it gives space to the authorities to carry out their duties freely and fairly,” said Shamsul Iskandar in a statement.

Another PKR leader Tian Chua called for the rule of law to be applied equally to everyone, without interference from anyone.

“If anyone found to be in the wrong, appropriate legal action should then be taken,” he said.

Meanwhile, PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (picture) said Azmin should resign from his post if he is conclusively identified as one of the two men in a recent viral sex video.

“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,” Anwar told reporters in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

Azmin had denied being in the video and claimed that the allegation was a conspiracy from within the party. Anwar also expressed his surprise over the arrest of his aide, Farhash Wafa.

“I am surprised and not sure why he was detained, but I am sure the police had their reasons and that the investigations should proceed according to its due course,” Anwar said.

When asked on his opinion on insinuations that Farhash was linked to some “higher-ups masterminds” within the party, he said: “Higher than me is Azizah”, referring to his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who is also the deputy prime minister.

In response to Anwar’s remarks, Azmin said the PKR president should “look in the mirror”.

“Tell him to look at the man in the mirror,” Azmin told reporters when asked to comment on Anwar’s statement.