One of the ministers seen dancing together with attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali during the 59th Merdeka Day celebrations at Dataran Merdeka has reportedly described the situation as a spontaneous reaction to “beautiful” music.
Online portal Free Malaysia Today quoted Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar as saying that they were among the crowd that responded to the festive music played on that day.
“When the music is beautiful, feel good, the feeling (to dance) will be there. That is all. There was nothing more than that,” Wan Junaidi said.
He, however, said he could not remember whether Apandi had also danced along with him and several other Umno ministers.
“I did not see (Apandi) but I know there were four or five ministers who responded to the music. I know because I was also moving my body (dancing),” he reportedly said.
Wan Junaidi was responding to the video which was originally uploaded by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s lawyer, Haniff Khatri Abdulla, in raising concerns over Apandi’s apparent “closeness” with the ministers.
Haniff said that Apandi, seen to be dressed in similar attire as the minister, could be perceived as committing actions that potentially compromised principles of natural justice.
Also seen in the video were Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak, Ministers in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said and Nancy Shukri, as well as Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Maximus Ongkili.
Wan Junaidi also said that being caught dancing was not a serious matter because it has nothing to do with ethics or going against any law.
“All who were there were influenced by the music. All of them, including me.
“So, I did not personally see anything (wrong). Whoever questions it until it becomes a big issue, to me it is very inappropriate,” he was quoted as saying.
Wan Junaidi added that the incident only happened after the departure of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his deputy, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
“The music was turned up so that we (the crowd) know that even though the VVIPs have left, the event was still not over,” he said.
In an immediate reaction, Haniff in a Facebook posting this evening said it was quite strange and puzzling for Wan Junaidi to be the one responding to his statement, which never questioned the actions of any minister.
“The action of (any) minister is not the issue,” he said.
On Wan Junaidi’s remarks that he could not remember seeing Apandi dancing, Haniff said that it should be all the more reason for him to not comment on the matter, as it would merely confuse Malaysians on the real issue of Apandi’s conduct as an attorney-general.
In reference to Wan Junaidi’s dismissal of the entire issue, Haniff said: “With all due respect, I am willing to give free advice to Wan Junaidi to learn the concept of the role and responsibilities of an attorney-general, in order to understand its relations to the concept of the rule of law.”
“Or he could also obtain the same advice from any qualified lawyer before trying to confuse all Malaysians, that the issue raised was ‘not important’ and ‘inappropriate’,” he said.
Haniff also said he believed that Apandi is fully capable of responding to the matter on his own behalf, and as such urged Wan Junaidi to instead focus on his own duties as a minister.
Earlier this morning, former Umno leader Khairuddin Abu Hassan had submitted a memorandum to the Attorney-General’s Office in Putrajaya, demanding Apandi’s resignation within 24-hours over the incident.