Tourism and Culture Minister Mohammadin Ketapi has denied calling media photographers stupid, saying he only told one of them to “get lost”.
This comes after a commotion when press photographers tried to take the Warisan leader’s picture at the Parliament lobby.
Speaking to reporters later, Mohammadin claimed that he only told one photographer off.
“I only remember one photographer. He was chasing after me and taking my photo.
“So, I told him: ‘You keep taking pictures. Even when I want to go to the washroom, you want to take pictures. Stop it…better you get lost,’” he said.
Mohammadin said it was not right for any MP to utter words like “idiot” or “rubbish”.
The minister allegedly singled out one photographer – Free Malaysia Today’s Mogan Villavan – for doing his job.
“Why are you taking my pictures? You better get lost!” he allegedly said to Mogan.
Another photographer – the Malay Mail’s Yusof Mat Isa – told reporters at Parliament’s lobby that he also heard Mohamaddin utter the words “rubbish” and “idiots” at them.
All five photographers present were shocked at being verbally attacked by the Lahad Datu Member of Parliament (MP).
During Parliamentary sessions, photographers are tasked with, among other duties, taking photographs of all MPs as they enter and leave the Dewan Rakyat.
The incident was later brought up by a reporter during a press conference at Parliament by Warisan president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, at which Mohamaddin was present.
“We just want an explanation from the minister on why he called the media personnel ‘idiots’ when they were doing their jobs?” the reporter asked.
But Mohamaddin denied he had uttered such words.
“I did not say that. When? You show me proof that I said that,” he said.
One hour after the press conference, Mohamaddin met with the media to clear the air.
“I didn’t say the word ‘idiot’. It (was) not me. I never said that and ‘rubbish’. What the hell is that?
“I remember only one photographer coming to me, taking my picture. Then I told him ‘That’s it’. But I never said ‘rubbish, idiot’.
“Don’t get it wrong. I didn’t say anything. If I said it, I (would admit it).
“Calling and telling people idiot, that is not me,” Mohamaddin said.