KAJANG: Ex-Community Communications Department (J-Kom) director-general Datuk Dr Mohammad Agus Yusoff and his former subordinate Abdul Wahab Abdul Kadir Jilani took on a series of tough questions during a press conference at a hotel here on Friday night (Nov 17).
The press conference came after he was implicated in a video with Abdul Wahab, an assistant officer in the department.
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Both admitted they appeared in the controversial video but Abdul Wahab claimed that the original video was shot without sound and what could be heard was audio that was added in later.
Mohammad Agus also denied the veracity of the video, saying it was doctored to frame him.
Following their statements, journalists grilled them over the video and the manner of their relationship.
Here are some of the questions from the hour-long press conference.
Reporter: Were you in cooperation with Mr H to (topple Mohammad Agus)?
Abdul Wahab: I was directed... to film a video with Datuk Agus.
Reporter: When you say the video was edited, how was it done since it both visuals and sound would have been recorded?
Abdul Wahab: The video actually had no audio.
Reporter: So someone edited the audio into the video?
Abdul Wahab: I'm not sure.
Reporter: So it's not your voice?
Abdul Wahab: No.
Reporter: So it's not the voice of Datuk (Mohammad Agus) also?
Abdul Wahab: No.
Reporter: But the video was real?
Abdul Wahab: (nods) But without audio.
Reporter: So what was the conversation about?
Abdul Wahab: A casual chat.
Reporter: On what platform was it recorded?
Abdul Wahab: WhatsApp.
Reporter: Can a video be recorded without audio using a phone?
Abdul Wahab: No comment.
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A reporter then asked Mohammad Agus what he and Abdul Wahab actually talked about.
Mohammad Agus: I cannot be sharing 'benda dalam katil' (pillow talk). Just casual conversation, like that between a father and son about all sorts of things – how are you, how's your family, how's your life.
Another reporter then asked Mohammad Agus about the kissing gesture he was seen making in the video.
Mohammad Agus: Oh, I don't remember. You're going into very specific detail.
Reporter: Did you say the "kiss" word?
Mohammad Agus: Let's assume if I said it. Is it a criminal offence? I don't see anything wrong with it.
Reporter: You said there were efforts to topple you. Has this been happening for some time or is this new?
Mohammad Agus: It's not fair for me to say. It's normal when there are people who are not happy and criticise – but it's not my problem.
Reporter: Wahab said that Mr H is a high-ranking official in J-Kom.
Mohammad Agus: That was his statement and this is mine. I don't take it (the alleged conspiracy to topple him) personally, if they want to take over, do it. This is a conspiracy by those who are not happy with me over J-Kom's aspirations and direction.
Abdul Wahab was then asked questions about his relationship with Mohammad Agus.
Reporter: Was it the first time you called Datuk Agus or have you called him before?
Abdul Wahab: Quite a few times previously.
Reporter: Who asked to film the video?
Abdul Wahab: Mr H.
Reporter: Did Mr H tell you what the video was for? Did he say he wanted to use it to entrap anyone?
Abdul Wahab: No.
Reporter: You said you made several video calls with Datuk Agus before, was this the first time you recorded one?
Abdul Wahab: Yes, the first time.
The line of questioning then turned to Mohammad Agus.
Reporter: Wahab is an assistant officer. Is it normal for you to engage with a subordinate like him or others?
Mohammad Agus: It's very common for me to have video calls with other officers... It's normal, for work or otherwise. I don't see... Wahab is just a child. Even my eldest son is older than him.
Reporter: He is a new staff member, does he have any special status that he can video call you?
Mohammad Agus: Video calls are normal with my director, staff and friends. This is not an offence.
Reporter: But he is still new and not high-ranking. Is it common for a boss to have a video call with staff at that level?
Mohammad Agus: Wahab is naive. There are some family matters that he needed (help with). I gave him some advice. I don't think that it is weird. There should be no negative perception about that.
A reporter then asked if Abdul Wahab called Mohammad Agus about work or personal matters.
Abdul Wahab: I'm a friendly person and I always make it a point to speak to my friends, colleagues and bosses.
Mohammad Agus: Wahab is like a child to me.
Reporter: Who initiated the call?
Mohammad Agus: I was the one who called.
Reporter: What was your family's reaction after the video went viral?
Mohammad Agus: Anyone who has emotions and feelings would be stressed out over this.
Reporter: Will you pass the original video footage to the police for investigation?
Mohammad Agus: I did not record anything.
Mohammad Agus then asked Abdul Wahab if he still had the recording, who said he did not.
Reporter: If you are blameless, why did you shut down your Facebook account?
Mohammad Agus: I shut it down way earlier, about a month before after it was hacked and obscene content added.
A reporter then said that there were contradictions in their statements.
Reporter: You said you wanted to frame Datuk Agus but the video shows that Datuk Agus took the lead, including making the call. Can you explain?
Abdul Wahab: It's not contradictory. It was originally longer but what was spread was edited.
Reporter: You claimed that the original video had no audio and was doctored by one Mr H. Would you challenge him to make the original public?
Mohammad Agus: I don't know what video Mr H possesses. It's not me who published the video. I am not in the position to answer it and you have to ask Wahab for it.
(Reporter to Abdul Wahab): So what's your response?
Abdul Wahab: I will leave it to the police.
When asked, Abdul Wahab said did not have the original video.
Reporter: Have you both lodged a police report over the matter?
Mohammad Agus: Yes, I lodged a police report earlier this evening before coming to this press conference.
Reporter: How long have you been with J-Kom?
Abdul Wahab: I have been working in J-Kom for more than two weeks. I started on Nov 1.
Reporter: What was your previous employment?
Abdul Wahab: I was in the food and beverage business.
Abdul Wahab later confirmed that he was still the Hulu Langat PKR Youth deputy chief.
Reporter: Are you married?
Abdul Wahab: Yes, I'm married with four children.
Reporter: Where were both of you when the video was recorded?
Abdul Wahab: I was at home.
Mohammad Agus: I was on vacation.
Reporter: Did you resign because of this issue?
Mohammad Agus: I was planning to resign (without fanfare) but I didn't know the video was going to go viral before that.
Earlier, Mohammad Agus claimed he met someone on Nov 13 who showed him the video and gave him two choices – resign or go on leave until his service term expires.
He said he chose a compromise and announced his resignation on Nov 16.
However, the video went viral the next day.
Mohammad Agus was appointed to the post in the Prime Minister’s Department on Feb 2.