Deputy minister: It was not a birthday gathering

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 19 Apr 2020

PETALING JAYA: Datuk Abdul Rahman Mohamad has rubbished claims that he held a birthday gathering at his house during the movement control order (MCO).

The Deputy Rural Development Minister said this in response to the claims after a screenshot of a Facebook post - showing what appeared to be a small gathering to celebrate his birthday - went viral on social media.

Speaking to The Star on Sunday (April 19), Rahman said that the post was misinterpreted by netizens.

"It was unplanned; it was not a birthday party," he said.

He said that instead, it was a short meeting where Rahman cut the cake that was brought to his house followed by a short recital of the doa selamat (prayer for safety).

Rahman, who is also Lipis MP, confirmed that the photos in the post were taken on April 13 (Monday).

He said that it was taken as the men were at his house to see him off as he made his way to Putrajaya to attend National Security Council meetings.

The men, he said, were volunteers who have been helping him distribute necessities to his constituents who were in need.

"I was leaving at around 9am when I saw the men arrive with the cake.

"They said that they wanted to wish me well - as I was journeying to Putrajaya - and that they wanted to give me the cake as it was my birthday that day," he said.

He added that it would also be rude to turn them away as they were well-wishers.

"They have also worked hard in helping to distribute necessities to over 5,000 households in my constituency," he said.

He said that he was not wearing a face mask in the photos, as there was not yet an advisory from the Health Ministry for healthy individuals to wear a mask.

"But now I have started wearing a mask," he, however, added.

The screenshots of the Facebook post went viral after it was uploaded on April 13.

The original post saw people wishing Rahman a "Happy Birthday", followed with well wishes.

One of the photos showed visitors coming to what appeared to be his house, carrying a birthday cake.

In another, he can be seen cutting a birthday cake surrounded by his visitors.

None of the men in the photos, including Rahman, were wearing masks.

There also seemed to be no social distancing at the mini gathering.

This controversy comes fresh after Deputy Health Minister I Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali was seen having a meal with a group of tahfiz students in Lenggong, Perak, while the MCO is still in force.

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