Last Updated: Mon Nov 01, 2010 19:59 pm (KSA) 16:59 pm (GMT)

Malaysia minister quits over video sex scandal

Health minister Chua Soi Lek (File)
Health minister Chua Soi Lek (File)

Malaysia's health minister resigned his cabinet post Wednesday after admitting he had been secretly filmed having sex with a female friend in a hotel room.

Chua Soi Lek, 61, the most senior member of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's government to resign after a sex scandal, announced that he was also stepping down from parliament.

"The people could not accept (the scandal), so to me and my family it was better for me to resign so that I am not a liability to the national leadership," Chua, a married man with three children, told a hastily convened news conference.

"I won't be the first and I won't be the last (politician to be caught in such a situation)," he added. "It is up to the public to judge me."

A grim-looking prime minister said he accepted Chua's resignation and thanked him for taking responsibility for his actions.

"The public not only wants (the government) to act swiftly on issues and carry out our duties well," Abdullah said.

Chua admitted Tuesday that he was in the video, which has been splashed on the front pages of Malaysian newspapers since the DVD started circulating in southern Johor state last week.

Chua is vice president of the Malaysian Chinese Association, a key part of Abdullah's coalition government.

Abdullah said Chua's resignation would not affect upcoming general elections, which he is expected to announce this year.

Chua said his family was fully supportive of his decision and admitted that the scandal was taking a toll. "I live in a very close-knit family but I am confident that my family will support me," he added.

The video is believed to have been taken from closed-circuit television and was recorded two years ago, according to the state news agency Bernama.

Sex scandals among politicians are not uncommon in Malaysia, with several members of the ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO) having been forced to resign in recent years.

Defiant to the last, Chua drew a line between his public and private life, refusing to comment on the incident portrayed in the tape.

"If you want to discuss my private life, please do," he told reporters at his press conference. "Maybe you would like to watch the videotape with me."

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