A series of sex videos alleging the involvement of Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali was leaked through a WhatsApp group on June 11.
The knowledge of the existence of such videos was spread to the mainstream audience after UMNO Supreme Council member Datuk Lokman Adam made a police report on the pornographic materials.
Additionally, Lokman also made a report to MACC, urging the authorities to launch an investigation on Azmin after documents alleging that the minister received money from UEM Group were spread on social media.
Looking at Azmin Ali’s Twitter activity, there was a tremendous spike on his retweets and mentions on June 12 and 13. The minister received about 5,000 retweets and mentions on each of the respective dates.
June 12 was the day when former Youth chief of PKR Santubong Haziq Aziz revealed that he was one of the two men in the videos and claimed that Azmin was the other. Twitter user @MusyMustakim’s video of himself parodying Haziq’s confession video became popular on the social media platform, receiving almost 5,000 retweets and 4,000 likes.
@MusyMustakim ridiculed Haziq’s video for being staged like a Hari Raya greetings video. Plus, he criticized Haziq for switching his narration in an instance. First, Haziq claimed he had sexual relations with Azmin and then he asked the MACC to investigate the minister for corruption.
Besides, a majority of retweets and mentions received by Azmin Ali was on his side. Twitter users believed that those scandal videos were doctored and that there was a mastermind behind them.
Some claimed that PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was the mastermind due to the conspiracy theory that Tun Dr Mahathir will elect Azmin as his successor instead of Anwar. On the other hand, others suspected that the opposition parties were the culprits.
For those accounts that were not supporting the PKR deputy president, they seek for an investigation to be made on the scandal videos and urged Azmin to go on leave.
While for the Economic Affairs Minister, it is noticeable that he went quiet on the day the alleged scandal videos went viral and the day Haziq released his confession video, which were June 11 and 12 respectively.
But after that, Azmin’s activity on Twitter started to pick up again. In fact, it is noticeable that he tweeted more tweets after the alleged scandals compared to the period before the videos went viral.
Azmin addressed the alleged scandals on June 14. He expressed his gratitude towards his supporters.
Then, most of the tweets that Azmin tweeted were on his activities as the Economic Affairs Minister. From his activities, the minister proceeded with his duties as usual. He event attended events along with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Prime Minister.
Nevertheless, Azmin did mention the alleged scandal from time to time. He gave a special shout-out to Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq for rejecting gutter politics. Nonetheless, numerous politicians also came forward and condemned gutter politics, including Anwar Ibrahim and Nurul Izzah.
For his alleged corruption, Azmin retweeted MACC’s investigation result on him, which showed the bank transaction documents alleging the Economic Affairs Minister was corrupted were falsified.
Regardless, the amount of retweets and mentions he received for addressing his alleged scandal were not as high as on the peak days (June 12 and 13). Moreover, he made the most tweets in June on the 22nd. It was the day he attended the 34th ASEAN Summit with Tun Mahathir.
Overall, the alleged scandals on Azmin made his Twitter account to receive high retweets and mentions when the issue first went viral. But the issue quickly died down on his Twitter account as he continues with his role as the Minister of Economic Affairs.