From banged-up car to better eyesight: Fahmi Fadzil makes amends over tweet backlash

Fahmi greets Yap at the Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur. — Picture via Facebook
Fahmi greets Yap at the Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur. — Picture via Facebook

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 — On September 8, Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil received public backlash over a tweet he wrote who some saw as making fun of a car that was still being driven on the road despite being rundown.

After issuing an apology and deleting the post, the PKR MP decided to take it one step further and attempted to track down the driver of the wrecked car, to find out what was the cause of the dents.

“He was driving home after his car got hit from the back, and was on the way to collect some food for the stray dogs he usually fed,” Fahmi said in statement, after meeting the man earlier today.

Fahmi said he also found out that the driver, Yap Chi Hoe, 39, has chronic retinal detachment. This meant that if Yap did not undergo an operation he would have lost his eyesight.

“This explained why Yap was squinting (what was observed on September 8),” he said.

Because Yap, an animal lover had made an appointment earlier to collect some dog bones to feed the stray dogs, he made a decision to drive on anyway in his dented Proton Saga. He had called for a tow truck, but help did not arrive.

It took Fahmi six weeks to locate Yap, and with the help of Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur, which has a corporate social responsibility programme offering pro-bono medical treatments, Yap has since received treatment and regained his sight after the operation yesterday.

Another silver lining was the move had unmasked Twitter account @RizaTann, now believed to be a “sockpuppet” account posing as a woman named “Riza Tan”, used to deliberately spread misinformation and slander.

“We also found out from Yap that he is a lorry driver, and not as Grab driver as claimed by Twitter handle Riza Tan. Yap said he did not know Riza Tan,” Fahmi explained.

The account had pretended to be the friend of the man, falsely claiming that he was working as a Grab driver to support his parents.

In response, Fahmi urged the public to be more careful when sharing information on social media.

“In the spirit of the Anti-Fake News Act, it is always good fact check before we retweet and share stories, as they could be detrimental to others,” he added

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