KUALA LUMPUR: Before June 11, unless you are a PKR member, chances are the name Muhammad Haziq Abdullah Abdul Aziz would have drawn a blank.
That changed the next day following the release of a video clip, which allegedly featured not just the Santubong PKR Youth chief, but also a senior minister engaged in sexually explicit acts.
With another video clip released days after the first one, the question on everyone’s mind was: who is Haziq?
The media has established that the 27-year-old is a Universiti Malaya law graduate. His roots in PKR came by virtue of his presidency of Mahasiswa Keadilan, which he co-founded in 2012.
Reports showed Haziq was planning to leave PKR in 2016.
This was disputed by party secretary-general Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, who said he had never received any letter from Haziq expressing his wish to quit the party.
In 2017, Haziq switched political allegiance when he joined the team of former minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri as an intern via the Perdana Fellowship for several months.
A tweet by Nancy on May 1 last year showed a picture of her with her team. Haziq is seen in the background wearing a T-shirt with the message, “Kamek Milih Nancy” (I choose Nancy).
However, it appears that there was initially apprehension by Nancy’s office on accepting Haziq based on his history with Mahasiswa Keadilan.
Nancy’s former press secretary, Syeliza Basri, told the New Straits Times (NST) that Nancy had initially rejected Haziq’s application to work in her ministry given his political history.
Syeliza said Nancy eventually agreed to take him in following his persistent applications.
“After he kept applying, the prime minister at the time (Datuk Seri Najib Razak) and (former youth and sports minister) Khairy Jamaluddin suggested to my boss to give Haziq a chance. It was solely on the intention that Najib and KJ wanted more young people to have experience in administrative work.”
Syeliza described Haziq as being a “good guy”, but may have been “too ambitious”.
The NST has attempted to reach Khairy for confirmation on Syeliza’s claim. However, as at press time, it has yet to receive an answer.
Following Pakatan Harapan’s victory in the 14th General Election (GE14) last year, Haziq returned to PKR and was elected as Santubong PKR Youth chief.
On Jan 19, he was appointed as principal private secretary to Deputy Primary Industries Minister Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Md Akin.
Shamsul, on Thursday, had described Haziq as “professional” and never showed any sign of being a “suspicious character” at the ministry.
On how Haziq came to be appointed as his principal private secretary, he said there was a vacancy for the post. Haziq, he said, had sent his resume and was hired on a contract basis after an interview.
“It was a normal hiring process.”
Asked if Haziq was hired based on anyone’s recommendation, he replied in the negative.
Shamsul was also asked on why Haziq was hired despite his inexperience, to which he replied that the latter was “not a stranger” by virtue of him being the Santubong PKR Youth chief.
Haziq’s father, Abdul Aziz Ibrahim, 53, on Friday, had defended his son and said he was a “very nice man”.
Haziq’s friends described him as ambitious, religious and was active during his time in the Sekolah Sains Alam Shah Islamic student body.
Hilman Idham, the political secretary of Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, had claimed that Haziq was a victim of a “dirty political game” to bring down the PKR deputy president.
Hilman claimed that he had a meeting with Haziq.
“In the meeting, Haziq told me that the video was fake and he denied being a character in the video,” he was quoted as saying on Friday.
Sabah PKR Youth deputy chief Blisson Zainuddin, however, had a different story.
He said during the Sandakan by-election last month, Haziq had badgered him for Azmin’s schedule and lodging information.
Blisson believed Haziq had a hidden agenda.
“If he indeed had an intimate relationship with the minister as he claimed, then would he not have direct contact with Azmin?” Blisson said recently.
Dr Faridzwan Abdul Ghafar, who was Azmin’s former aide when the latter was the Selangor menteri besar, told the NST of his experience in meeting Haziq in 2017.
“Haziq sounded impressed when I told him I was working for Azmin Ali at the time. He smiled. He seemed like a fan, to be honest.”