Mat Sabu says focused on work, decries “Roti John” joke as “fake news”.
Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu has threatened to sue anyone who insinuates that it was he who cracked a joke which allegedly did not amuse a senior foreign official at a high-level security meeting.
“This is an utter lie published in The Star.
“Had these people named me, I would sue them for defamation. The claim is wholly a fabrication,” the Amanah president said.
Without naming him, a columnist in The Star suggested that there were some Pakatan Harapan ministers who were given Cabinet positions just because of their senior positions in their parties.
The columnist also claimed there was an anecdote related by a foreign diplomat, about a Malaysian minister who met a “high-level official” named John and cracking a joke on cooking “roti John”.
A “roti John” is a popular street snack made of sandwich with omelette and minced meat, flavoured with sauces.
Mohamad is also known for his culinary skills.
Following this, former defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein mocked an earlier speech in which Mohamad used an African proverb to explain Malaysia’s security dilemma: “When elephants fight, the grass will suffer,” Mohamad had told a defence summit in Singapore last year.
Hishammuddin asked: “Not long ago there was a buzz about a PH minister’s story on elephants fighting at an international summit.
“This time, it is about roti john. I hope the story is fake,” the Sembrong MP wrote on Facebook.
In response, the minister also known as Mat Sabu advised Hishammuddin to answer on suspicious contracts instead of focusing on “fabricated anecdotes” that are directed at him.
“The defence ministry is currently carrying out a forensic audit on contracts procured during Hishammuddin’s time, including the suspicious sales of helicopters to Malaysia.
“I’d advise him to be prepared to respond to that,” Mat Sabu was quoted as saying.
Last year, Mat Sabu’s aides lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission over the non-delivery of six helicopters worth RM300 million despite about one-third of the payment made.
Hishammuddin had said he was prepared to be called in to answer the allegations.
The ministry has appointed former auditor-general Ambrin Buang to carry out a forensic audit of all transactions in the ministry during the previous administration.
Mat Sabu also took a swipe at former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for insinuating that he was the minister who allegedly made the “Roti John” joke.
“I am now focused on work, not disturbing Najib. But if you need to provoke based on unverified matters, please read first.
“Don’t act like a know-it-all on social media, but clueless on everything in court.” he wrote, referring to Najib’s testimonies in his ongoing corruption trial at the High Court.
In Najib’s ongoing RM42 million SRC corruption trial, Najib has often denied or claimed no knowledge of the alleged wrongdoings taking place at the material time while testifying on the witness stand.
Mat Sabu had responded to a tweet by Najib after the latter linked a news article quoting Hishamuddin questioning the identity of the minister mentioned in the newspaper column.
Yesterday, Mohamad’s press secretary Amin Iskandar had denied Mohamad was the minister mentioned in the column and said that the writing was “fake news”.