Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak claimed today he was repeating phrases from the audience when he made remarks viewed as demeaning to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.
He said on his Facebook page he did not mean to ridicule the group or those who plied highways at night when he was criticising the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government’s plan to abolish tolls at four highways from 11pm to 5am.
“If you watch the video clip from the meet-the-people session last night, I was only repeating what was shouted by the audience who attended the ceramah, in response to my question.
“I admit that I went with the answers and responses given by last night’s audience. I humbly apologise if any were offended,” he said in the statement.
In his Facebook posting, Najib clarified that he did not intend to belittle those who worked late shifts and travelled on highways after 11pm.
In the clip, he mocked the PH plan for removing tolls at night, saying it would only benefit “ghosts, alcoholics, LGBT, and their customers”.
On Saturday (Feb 23), Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed announced that under a “congestion charge” that would be introduced, commuters would pay the equivalent of existing toll charges during peak hours.
However, there would be no charge from 11pm to 5am. During the day, users would get a 30% discount during off-peak hours.
The system is expected to begin with the Lebuhraya Damansara Puchong (LDP), Sistem Penyuraian Trafik KL Barat (SPRINT), Lebuhraya Shah Alam (KESAS) and SMART Tunnel.
Najib courted brickbats for his remarks from certain quarters. Among them was lawyer Syahredzan Johan, who is also DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang’s political secretary.
“No wonder (Najib lost) – He did not know there are Malaysians who work night shifts,” he tweeted.