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Malaysian Minister Resigns in Fallout From Sex Video Scandal

Says Video Was Made Secretly by Political Rivals

Malaysian Minister Resigns in Fallout From Sex Video Scandal

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Health minister Chua Soi Lek resigned today after admitting that he was the man who appeared in an anonymously circulated, one-hour sex video that has severely embarrassed the administration of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, reports The Independent.

Chua, 61, is married with three children, and described the woman in the video, which surfaced last week, as "a personal friend," but refused to elaborate. A former physician, Chua was appointed to the health ministry post in 2004 by Abdullah, and rose swiftly to also become a member of parliament and vice-president of the Malaysian Chinese Association, the second party in Abdullah's ruling coalition.

Chua resigned from all posts, effective immediately, in a national press conference.

"I am relinquishing my positions," Chua announced, adding that he had found people "could not accept" his public apology for his actions.

"Some Malaysians have a holier-than-thou attitude," Chua said. "I think that anyone who is a leader has to be responsible for his mistakes or weaknesses. I feel proud — at least I dared to admit it. I never said that it was not me. I never even said that it was doctored."

This is an election year for Malaysia, and the scandal has fueled opposition parties to Abdullah that have long accused his administration of immorality and misconduct.

"As a minister, [Chua] has committed an act that cannot be accepted by society, instead of being a leader who maintains his integrity," said Mahfuz Oman, an official for the opposing Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party.

As health minister, Chua was praised for cutting bureaucratic delays in medical services and working to combat AIDS, smoking and junk-food consumption. He apologized to his family and supporters, and suggested the video was made secretly by his political rivals.

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In a statement, Chua's wife said she stood by him. Abdullah said an acting health minister would be appointed from Chua's party, and the party's president, Ong Ka Ting, condemned those responsible for making the video and said the party accepted Chua's resignation.






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Peter Warren

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