KUALA LUMPUR: Farhash Wafa Salvador Rizal Mubarak (pic) insists that he has been turned into a sideshow to deflect attention away from Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, who is embroiled in a sex video scandal.
Farhash, who is Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s political secretary and Perak PKR chief, spoke to The Star in Kuala Lumpur on internal party politics, his whereabouts since the scandal broke and Haziq Abdullah Abdul Aziz’s confession that he was one of the two men in the sex video.
The public perception is that there is a civil war in PKR. Is there a split in your party?
There’s no civil war. The perception is different when you’re a party member. Yes, there are some people who are pro-Azmin and some others pro-Rafizi (Ramli, the appointed PKR vice-president). But on the whole, everyone’s behind the president (Anwar). There’s one major bloc, which is the president’s bloc. Because some people are closely associated with the deputy president (Azmin) or Rafizi, it seems like there are factions.
How did you get dragged into the sex video scandal?
My name came up all of a sudden because supposedly I was not seen at Anwar’s Hari Raya open house. And that I was missing. Let me just clear this up. This whole thing about me being missing was started by Raja Petra Kamaruddin’s tweet. I saw that.
My friends told me that (blogger) RPK said that I was missing and they asked whether I was at KLIA (when Haziq was arrested). It created all this speculation because the story about Haziq and supposedly Azmin is so hot that any “scoop” just gets dramatised and exaggerated.
For me, RPK is someone who writes good fiction. I just refused to respond. So I was dragged into this and it was made worse by news reports that I was missing.
It’s ridiculous. So they created this whole thing and now I am bombarded by all kinds of inquiries and interview requests. The last I checked the missing persons page, I was not there. I’ve been around.
I’ve been within my usual radius. I’ve been at work. I’ve been at home. With my friends. I’ve been to the places that I frequent on a daily basis. I went on a very short trip to Johor Baru and I had a Hari Raya open house in Kuala Kangsar. So I’ve been around in the country. But I was nowhere near KLIA during the incident.
In fact, I had to pull up my CCTV recording of where I had been, just to prove that this thing has been blown out of proportion, with people now thinking that I’m part of this whole “sexpionage”.
But most of it is just a way to deflect attention. Azmin didn’t really say it. But the way the media was asking questions and the way he answered them implied that I am behind the sex video, which is a ridiculous accusation without any proof.
People who contact me on a daily basis, they could contact me. But I have to admit that early on, when reporters asked me questions through WhatsApp, I refused to answer. I didn’t want to entertain this because anything I said might have been spun against me because of my association with Anwar. So I chose to keep silent.
So probably that was a mistake. And also the fact that I’m not active on social media just adds to the mystery. So moving forward, I think I’ll probably open an Instagram account, and every day I will upload to show that yes, I’m in the country.
I have a CCTV recording on wherever I’ve been. And I am always surrounded by people wherever I go. Assistants – at least two of them – follow me from the time I get up until the time I sleep. I’m in the office as usual. I left KL only for one night to JB. Yesterday and the day before, I was in Johor. I was also in Kuala Kangsar for my Hari Raya open house (fourth day of Hari Raya).
On the day Haziq got caught in KLIA, I was in my office in Petaling Jaya. I was within my usual radius in Petaling Jaya, Cheras, Perak or Johor Baru.
You are close to Anwar and some people think that he is behind the sex video. Is there a reason for him to do this?
There is no reason at all. This accusation is wrong. It’s bad in every way because he went through something like this and he wouldn’t want to do something like this to anyone else or even hurt his own party.
Come on, think about it. He is affected as well, with this whole implication that tarnishes the reputation of this party. And it might reopen all the old memories or wounds that he went through. No one in their right mind would do this. I don’t think any of the leaders in PKR would want to do this. This blame game has to stop. It’s just a deflection.
We hope that the police conclude the investigations soon. We want to know whether the video is actually real or fake. And the investigations will determine who’s behind this or if no one is behind this. There are so many conspiracy stories right now.
You know, some people say it is the Muhyiddin camp, the Special Branch, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad... It is Anwar. It is Azmin’s people. But those theories are not important. I think what the public wants to know is whether this video is fake or real. I even have this conversation with my wife. Is it real, or is it fake?
For you, is it real or fake?
This is my personal opinion. I’m one of the people who were in the sex video WhatsApp group. I think when the first video came out, I had my doubts. It’s not so clear. The second one, I would have to say, looks like him. I won’t say it’s real or fake, but (one of the men in it) does look like him.
So who do you think is behind this?
I don’t know.
Do you still stand by your statement that Azmin should quit his positions if it was him in the video?
Of course. If it was him in the video, the most honourable thing to do is for him to step down.
But Anwar has reprimanded you for making that statement?
Yes, he issued a statement saying that he doesn’t agree with me. I think it’s very fair because he doesn’t want the public to think that whatever I say echoes what he thinks. I’m my own person. Although I am his political secretary, I’m also part of the party leadership. I lead Perak PKR as the chairman. So I’m entitled to my own views.
What’s your connection with Haziq?
I just know that he works for Shamsul Iskandar (Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin), who is my friend. I’m in politics. I’ve seen Haziq around. I’m sure he has seen me around. But we’re not friends or anything. And the party is very small. Especially someone like him, who is the chief of staff to a deputy minister. We tend to know them.
Have you spoken to Haziq lately to know what the truth is?
Can you contact him? I’ve asked Sam (Shamsul), but not whether the video is fake or real. I just asked how he felt. Sam told me that he was also “blur”. He said Haziq was a professional in his job and was good at it.
Do you think you have ended up a scapegoat in this sex video scandal?
I’m one of the many scapegoats in this whole intrigue. But I think it’s not that they’re really after me. You see, I represent my president. People who are trying to attack him don’t dare attack him directly. So they attacked me. Being Anwar’s political secretary, it comes with the job scope. It is just another day in the office.
What is your advice to Azmin?
For PKR to put this matter behind and to move on to more pressing issues, my advice to Azmin is to lodge a police report on his own instead of going through his political secretary, and to sue Haziq.
He has to do what’s necessary instead of deflecting the matter and just giving statements that are inconsistent.
This is not a party matter. This is actually a private matter, an individual matter and he should address this on its own. The party doesn’t benefit in this whole episode. It damages the party. We hope he does what is necessary and the police will conclude this case as soon as possible so that we can move on to more pressing matters, which is taking care of the country.