Malaysian health minister admits being caught in sex-sting videos

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 January, 2008, 12:00am

Malaysia's health minister, who is one of the country's most senior Chinese political leaders, has admitted he is the man featured having sex with a young woman in a hotel room in DVDs that were distributed to hundreds of ethnic Chinese households and businesses in southern Johore state.

'I am the man ... the girl is a personal friend,' Chua Soi Lek, who is married, said at a press conference yesterday.

'I have apologised to the prime minister, his deputy and my family,' the 60-year old said in the town of Labis in Johore, his political power base.

Dr Chua said he would not resign, a position political analysts say is untenable in the conservative, Muslim majority nation.

In addition to his health portfolio, Dr Chua is vice-president of the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), the biggest Chinese party in the country.

He is believed to be a victim of a sting operation that used various cameras in a hotel room to entrap him with the woman. Police are investigating how the video was made and who distributed it over the weekend.

'Now that he has confessed, his position as minister is untenable,' said Lim Guan Eng, secretary general of the opposition Democratic Action Party. 'The person is a senior minister, married and cannot continue as a minister after this scandal. The best thing is for him to quit.'

He urged Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi to resolve the matter speedily.

The existence and distribution of the videos was first reported by Chinese daily Kwong Wah Yit Poh, but Malaysia's leading English and Malay papers have now also given the story wide prominence.

Brown envelopes with words 'sex movies' contained two discs and were left outside the doors of Chinese households in the state capital of Johore Baru. They were also sent to the media. The New Straits Times said the name of the minister was written on the disc covers.

One disc, 56 minutes long, shows sex acts in various rooms of a hotel suite, while the other is a 44-minute overhead shot of the couple having sex on a bed. Kwong Wah Yit Poh said the woman was a hotel flower seller.

Dr Chua's wife of 32 years, Wong Sek Hin, and their three children issued a statement yesterday saying they stood by him. 'We accept his indiscretion. It is a difficult time for all of us but we have accepted his regret and apology,' she said. 'He is a good husband and a father.'

There has been widespread speculation about who filmed the video although Dr Chua said it was not important to him to find the culprit.

The latest scandal could not have come at a worse time for Mr Abdullah who is weighing the possibility of a snap general election in mid-March but is hampered by dissatisfaction over crime, rising food and fuel prices and anger among minorities.