KUALA LUMPUR, 2 December 2019: Malaysia Tourism, Art and Culture Minister Mohammadin Ketapi got into a spot of bother late last week when he allegedly called news photographers “rubbish and idiots,” local media outlets reported.
You could call it a storm in a teacup but coming from the head of such a welcoming and hospitable business as travel, it sets a bad example for others to follow.
Both the New Strait Times and The Malaysian Insight file reported the incident that almost caused a press conference to derail as accusations flew fast and furious.
Obviously, the usually affable Minister had got out of bed on the wrong side and was a trifle miffed at the intrusion. Or perhaps he is allergic to flash photograph. An apology might have done the trick rather denials.
The newspapers said a press conference at the Malaysia Parliament was almost derailed when the media representatives demanded an explanation for what they deemed was abusive language.
“Before we proceed, we would like to ask the tourism minister why he called the media ‘rubbish’ when we were just doing our duty?” one bold reporter asked the Minister in the Parliament lobby.
Five photographers present said they were shocked at being verbally attacked by the Lahad Datu Member of Parliament who is also heading the country’s tourism industry as it prepares for Vist Malaysia 2020.
As for the Minister’s brief retort and explanation, it went something like: “I remember only one photographer coming to me, taking my picture. Then I told him ‘That’s it’. But I never said ‘rubbish, idiot’.