'Yang Bakar Menteri' podcast postponed while Rafizi recuperates from spinal surgery

KUALA LUMPUR: The “Yang Bakar Menteri” podcast will resume in March, says Rafizi Ramli.

The Economy Minister, who is in hospital for another two weeks after having spinal surgery, said the podcast that usually airs every fortnight will resume in March this year.

"The Yang Bakar Menteri (YBM) podcast should have been on air tonight (as it usually is broadcast on Monday nights every two weeks).

"However, I am in hospital for another two weeks after having spinal surgery," he wrote in a post on his X (formerly known as Twitter) account on Monday (Feb 19).

Rafizi then thanked those who reached out to him with messages.

"I usually do not share about things that I consider personal, like when it concerns health issues.

ALSO READ: PM visits Rafizi in hospital

"I know there are friends who are worried.

"It is better if I share a little bit of information so that it can be conveyed to those who are concerned.

"I had a heart attack in October 2023. I do not think it was due to work pressure but more to my cholesterol condition which has been high since I was young.

"After decades of living with high cholesterol, of course there are blocked blood vessels," he said.

Rafizi said the procedure to open the blocked blood vessels in the heart went well.

"Thank you to the experts and staff at the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre who took good care of me.

"In the third week of January this year, I got Covid-19 (for the first time). As a result of being bedridden for several days, the pressure on the spine caused a slipped disc.

"The condition worsened after a few weeks to the point where I could no longer walk and had to use a wheelchair. The pain has been excruciating," he said.

Rafizi said the diagnosis from the MRI shows that his spine has stenosis, meaning there is pressure (compression) from the slipped disc (which presses the nerves from the front) and from the ligaments that hold the spine (which presses the nerves from the back).

"Meaning that the nerve space shrinks and is pressed for a long time.

"The surgery to make room for the nerve went well and I was able to walk again.

"Thank you to the specialists and staff at the UPM Medical Centre who treated me," he said.

Rafizi also said that prior to his surgery, individuals such as (former Umno supreme council member) Isham Jalil and political observer Lim Sian See who had volunteered to face him on the podcast.

"I have no problem. In my career, I have taken part in various debates, forums and others. I even challenged Datuk Seri Najib Razak to a debate before the last general election.

"Now, characters such as Isham, Lim and (Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Dr) Puad Zakarshi have become 'ayam tambatan' (key players) for Perikatan Nasional because they often attack me (and the government)," he said.

"I know characters like this want to appear on YBM because they carry a certain agenda.

"They know that I am bound by the orders of the government, which means that I am not free to say anything that could cause turbulence with Umno, which is one of the parties that is a member of the Madani government.

"Therefore, I am open for them to come face to face at YBM after I receive feedback from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

"I respect their views for the sake of maintaining the integrity of the unity government," he said.

Rafizi said if Anwar and Ahmad Zahid had no objections, he would be pleased to go face to face with Lim Sian See.

"The same goes for Isham Jalil, even Puad Zakarshi. I am interested in hearing their ideas to help the country navigate the current challenging world economic environment.

"However, as there is order in any organisation, I should get feedback from the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister first.

"God willing, we will know by March," he said.

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