By John Isaac
DEPUTY Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said the cash he handed out to traders in a viral video was for purchases he had made from the stalls.
As he was in a hurry at that point of time, he said his special officer had been the one to collect the items.
“While walking hurriedly, I did not realise that my face mask was off as I was in a hurry to leave as per the advice of my special officer and the helicopter pilot, who had alerted us to leave for Kuching. So I gave money to the stallholders and told them to pack my purchases,” he was quoted as saying in Borneo Post.
He also admitted to failing to put his face mask during a recent visit to Matu, breaching standard operating procedures (SOPs) to stop the spread of Covid-19.
He revealed he had already been contacted by the police for the infraction, which was caught on a video that has since gone viral.
In the 25-second video, Awang Tengah is seen without his mask on while walking past stalls selling food and beverages.
He clarified that prior to the video being taken, he had been wearing a face mask but had taken it off while getting a drink at a stall.
“I have been contacted by the police on my failure to adhere to the standard operating procedures for not wearing a face mask while in public places – visiting some stalls that were open in conjunction with my visit. The police have contacted me and I will be issued a compound for that.
“The stalls usually operate on weekends. I went to the stall and bought some food and drinks and took off my face mask, while having my food. But it was my mistake, I was in a hurry to leave Matu and I did not realise that I was not wearing my face mask,” he told Borneo Post when asked about the video.
“I have been contacted by the police saying I will be issued a compound. I admit my mistake, and if issued the compound, I will pay it,” he added.
Awang Tengah did not reveal the cost of the compound, which would be issued later this afternoon.
Yesterday, DAP’s Batu Kitang chairman Abdul Aziz Isa asked the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission to clarify if Awang Tengah had breached any corruption law by handing out cash to the stall operators.