Najib Abdul Razak has pointed out the differences in Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's responses to sexual allegations against PKR president Anwar Ibrahim in 1998 and Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali, which surfaced last month.
In a brief Twitter posting this afternoon, the former prime minister said: “In 1998. This was a moral issue, not political issue. In 2019. This is a political issue, not moral issue.”
Although Najib did not mention names, it is obvious that he was referring to Mahathir's remarks on the sex video implicating Azmin.
In a blog post yesterday, the prime minister said he would not allow himself to be used by the mastermind behind the video.
“This is not a question of morals, it is a political problem. It will be handled as a political issue,” Mahathir said.
Mahathir also denied he was defending Azmin when describing the video as fake even before the authorities completed their investigation, saying he was merely expressing his rejection of gutter politics.
However, during his first tenure as prime minister, Mahathir stressed on morals when explaining his reason for sacking Anwar as his deputy in 1998, based on allegations of sexual misconduct.
During a news conference then, Mahathir described Anwar as someone whom he regarded as a friend, colleague and to a “certain extent”, his protege.
“But action has to be taken because this man cannot be allowed to become a leader in a country like Malaysia,” he said.
“I actually interviewed the people he sodomised and the women he had sex with, the driver who brought the women to the place where he met them...
“They had not only performed sodomy, but during the process, he was doing... I don't know what you call it, he was masturbating this man...,” he added.
Anwar has always maintained that the two sodomy charges against him, in 1998 and 2010 during Najib's administration, were fabricated.
The current video scandal is also speculated to be linked to another power tussle between Mahathir and Anwar.
This is because Mahathir is said to prefer Azmin, who is also PKR deputy president, to succeed him despite an agreement that the leadership baton would be passed to Anwar.
Anwar has denied involvement in the sex video, which according to the police is part of plot spearheaded by a political leader with the aim of tarnishing Azmin's reputation.
Police have found that while the video is most likely authentic, the facial recognition process failed to link Azmin to the recording depicting two men engaging in sexual acts.