KOTA KINABALU, June 25 — Sabah authorities said they will investigate incriminating photos of deputy chief minister Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin allegedly having a meal with turtle eggs being served.
Sabah’s Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Jafry Arifin said that the state will look into the case and investigate objectively.
“Of course [we will take action], if there is a need to.
“Nobody is above the law, but we have to go through certain processes as provided by the law,” he was quoted saying by the New Straits Times.
A photograph was published by Parti Warisan Sabah vice-president Datuk Junz Wong on his Facebook page this morning, showing Bung sitting down at a table with what looked like turtle eggs.
Wong said it was not the first time an Umno minister was found involved in a turtle egg scandal.
“This is too much. First, there was [Umno vice-president Datuk Seri] Ismail Sabri Yaakob and James Rati with turtle eggs.
“Then there was the ex-Umno state assemblyperson with turtle eggs,” said Wong.
While Malay Mail tried to reach Bung for comment, a Facebook user believed to be a community development officer for Lamag, claimed that the photo was altered.
“The photo uploaded onto Facebook with Datuk Seri Bung Mokhtar was my personal photo and was edited by irresponsible parties,” he said.
He attached a photo where the eggs did not look creased, and said that there were parties trying to manipulate the photo.
The consumption of turtle eggs is illegal in Sabah under the Sabah Wildlife Enactment 1997.
Those guilty of harvesting, selling or consuming turtle eggs in the state can be fined up to RM50,000 or jailed for five years or both.
In 2015, Ismail Sabri came under fire from conservationists after a photograph of him at a dinner in Sabah together with Ratib, who was Beluran Umno chief at the time, where turtle eggs were served went viral.
The Umno leader denied eating the eggs, citing his high cholesterol level and later filed a lawsuit against Sabah-based newspaper Daily Express over the matter.