PETALING JAYA: Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz has refuted claims that he did not attend the first Cabinet meeting because he was in Doha, Qatar to watch the World Cup.
The International Trade and Industry Minister said that the allegations were slanderous.
He explained that he was actually in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates to witness the agreement between PETRONAS Abu Dhabi Sdn Bhd and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).
“When did I ever go to Qatar to watch the World Cup? I was in Abu Dhabi, as one of the Malaysian representatives at the agreement between PETRONAS and ADNOC.
“I appeal to Twitterjaya not to be influenced by fake news,” he tweeted on Tuesday (Dec 6).
Tengku Zafrul posted a video to explain about the historic agreement and his absence during the first Cabinet meeting on Monday (Dec 5).
“I just took my oath (as Senator), and the slander and fake news about me skipping the Cabinet meeting to watch the World Cup ensued.
“Firstly, the World Cup is held in Doha, Qatar while I was in Abu Dhabi. Secondly, I was there on official business, not for leisure. Not attending the Cabinet meeting is unlike skipping classes, if one feels like not going, they don’t attend it.
“Any minister who wants to go overseas must get approval from the Prime Minister. If the Prime Minister doesn’t approve, you cannot go,” he said.
Tengku Zafrul added this prompted him to inform the secretary-general and senior officers at Miti about his Abu Dhabi trip soon after taking oath.
On the agreement, he said it was a landmark deal for the oil and gas sector because it involves the investment of both countries for a period of 30 years.
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah was present to witness the agreement inked alongside UAE president Sheikh Mohamed Zayed Al Nahyan and UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber.
“The engagement involves exploring and evaluating a 2,000km concession area in the Al Dhafra region. We are all very proud of PETRONAS’ success.
“It can diversify PETRONAS' resources and strengthen their status as one of the leading energy companies in the world while giving a positive spillover effect to the Malaysian economy,” Tengku Zafrul said.
He signed off his video message by saying that upon returning to the country, a briefing on the agreement and other matters will be presented to the Cabinet on Wednesday (Dec 7).
Previously, there were rumours about Tengku Zafrul's absence in the first unity government Cabinet meeting, leading people to believe that he was in the Middle East to watch the World Cup.
This news created a buzz on social media who called out the new minister for slacking off on the first day.
Mana ada saya pergi Qatar tengok World Cup. Hanya di Abu Dhabi sebagai salah satu wakil Malaysia di Majlis Permeteraian Perjanjian antara Petronas & ADNOC
Mohon Twitterjaya jangan mudah terpengaruh dengan fake news ye! pic.twitter.com/q6ZTqvjAiW— Tengku Zafrul (@tzafrul_aziz) December 6, 2022