KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 — The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Islamic Affairs has said there was nothing wrong with his exchange with a reporter that recently made headlines for his apparently condescending tone towards her.
“Thank you, and even though the question is not related to today, but to me, it was not provocative in nature,” Idris Ahmad said in Parliament today during his Budget 2022 winding-up speech.
Idris was responding to Batu Gajah MP V. Sivakumar, who asked the PAS minister to apologise for his recent conduct when responding to a question posed by Free Malaysia Today reporter Minderjeet Kaur.
Sivakumar defended Minderjeet for questioning Idris on the potential effects of Islam-centric policies, such as the recent banning of lottery number sales in Kedah, on the non-Muslim demographic there.
The Pakatan Harapan MP told Idris it was the right of the reporter to question such policy decisions, and that she did not deserve the apparently hostile response from Idris.
“I only feel it is right to apologise to the reporter for the use of such harsh words, and in the manner by which the situation was handled,” said Sivakumar, before Idris denied any wrongdoing.
This after the online news portal reported how Idris and Deputy Minister of Human Resources Datuk Awang Hashim had publicly chastised its reporter for posing a question to them in English, who then instead of answering the query, made jibes directed at the latter’s husband.
PAS Youth information chief Nadzir Helmi had defended the duo’s reaction to the reporter, describing the incident with the Malay saying, “Bertemu buku dan ruas,” or the reporter “had met her match”.
The PAS leaders’ remarks were then slammed by press group Gerakan Media Merdeka, who said that the duo have a duty to answer the media’s queries.
This came as all shops selling numbers forecast lottery draws in PAS-led Kedah will reportedly no longer have their business licences renewed by local councils.
Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor said the move aims to tackle the ills resulting from gambling.