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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Woman in Malasian sex video flees to China

THE woman who was secretly filmed having sex in a hotel room with former Malaysian Health Minister Chua Soi Lek has fled to China to take get away from the media glare, said Malaysian newspaper reports.

Johor police have identified the woman, who is said to be in her 30s and owns two clothing stores, one in a supermarket in Batu Pahat.

Dr Chua, 61, who quit on Wednesday, a day after he shocked the nation by admitting he was the man in a widely circulated sex video, said the woman is a 'personal friend.'

'Earlier reports in Malaysian newspapers have said the woman was a florist in her 20s.

Dr Chua is believed to have been at the opening of her shop several years ago.

Guang Ming daily described the woman as capable and happy-go-lucky, with a round face and short hair, giving her a China doll look.

Reporters who turned up at her shop found it was closed and neighbouring shopkeepers said it had been closed for several days.

A Chinese daily reporter even went to her house in Batu Pahat but found it locked and empty since the video sex scandal broke.

Dr Chua, a father of three, said he did not make the DVDs.

Newspapers said they were closed-circuit recordings made two years ago in a hotel room. One DVD lasted 56 minutes and the other 44 minutes.

Police are probing the case, trying to establish who made the recordings and how four cameras came to be in the room of a four-star hotel in Batu Pahat, in the southern state of Johor.

Still frames from the recording, shown on Malaysian national television on Wednesday, showed a man and woman from a camera above a bed.

Copies of the video, which was stored on two compact discs, were dropped off last week at shops and on some streets in Johor.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Association of Hotels executive director Sarjit Singh has said that no hotel is allowed to place CCTVs in its rooms.

'Any CCTV camera placed in a room will be intruding on the privacy of the hotel guest and is a violation of an individual's privacy,' he was quoted as saying by The Star on Friday.

'CCTVs are allowed only in public areas like the lobby and corridors.'

At a press conference on Thursday, Dr Chua said the sex video was recorded about eight months ago but he refused to answer questions about the woman or the affair. He said he would give a statement to police when he was ready.

Dr Chua Soi Lek said his downfall was caused by those who were suspicious of him and had used his indiscretion to their advantage.

'My biggest mistake was to think that upon reaching the federal level and being MCA vice-president that I should fulfil my duties by going to the ground and visiting all hospitals,' he said at an unscheduled press conference when he turned up at the Health Ministry to clear his personal belongings.

'In the course of moving around, I met a lot of MCA members and people got suspicious of me.'

'I thought that I should let people get to know me since I was a new face in federal-level politics. Because I moved around a lot, people thought I was too ambitious and that I had a political agenda.'

'And this was made worse by the press speculating that I intended to mount a challenge. The press helped to kill me. The pen is mightier than the sword.'

Defending his performance as a minister, Dr Chua said during his tenure, he had visited nearly all the 131 hospitals nationwide to learn about their problems.

He also visited over 50 healthcare centres.

'It's the political system - when we work too hard, people think we are ambitious or have an agenda.'

His advice to the new minister? 'Please go slow. Go too fast and you'll be the subject to political speculation," he added in his trademark sarcasm,' he said.

Dr Chua refused to go into the specifics about his perceived enemies and chose his words carefully throughout the press conference.

'I wouldn't say that this is our political culture because that would mean everybody is involved, but it's the behaviour of some leaders.'

'Those who are suspicious of me are people who gain from being suspicious of me.'

'I really don't know who my enemies are. And I'm not going to pursue this because it will never end.'

Asked if he would take a holiday to get over his exit from politics, he said:'I'm not upset. Why do I need to take a break? This is not a heart-breaking thing. Political struggle in Malaysia is not do or die like Pakistan.'

Dr Chua said he had no immediate plans for the future and had no intention of finding a job in the corporate world. He will continue to be an ordinary MCA member.

'I need to plan how to occupy my time. In politics, once you have no position, people won't remember you any more. But if people invite me to their meetings, I'll go.'

He admitted that it was 'hard to make me cry' and for that, people thought he was arrogant. But he said he was touched when some senior ministry officials cried as they bade him farewell, reported The New Straits Times.

The only time he appeared emotional was when he slammed a Chinese daily for conducting an Internet poll on whether his appearance in the sex video would jeopardise his political career.

Dr Chua also obliged photographers with a few poses of him clearing his desk.

Outside his office, senior clerk Marlyana Jalil said she had him to thank for her job.

'He is the best boss ever and I have respect for him. He was never angry and whenever I made mistakes, he was a good teacher.'


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