On Friday, 31 January, Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman was forced to escape by climbing over a fence after 200 'gangsters' gatecrashed a political party event
In a Facebook post published at 11.54pm on the same night, Syed Saddiq said he was in Ulu Tiram, Johor for a meeting with his Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia's (PPBM) youth and women wings, Armada and Srikandi.
He said his parents, as well as many women and children from both wings, were present at the closed-door event, before some 200 people came gatecrashing. He described the group as 'gangsters'.
Syed Saddiq said the group hurled offensive words at him and told him to apologise to Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, the crown prince of Johor
"Little kids and women were there. The worst of all, the group demanded me to apologise to TMJ (the Johor Crown Prince) if I ever wanted to come back here for events," said the Muar MP.
"I don't even know what has happened (between me and TMJ). All I know is that they were rude and uncivil."
Not wanting to escalate the situation, the minister chose to escape the scene by climbing over a fence and into the forest
According to The Star, Syed Saddiq said the organiser and policemen, who were with him at the scene, said that confronting the group would make matters worse.
"And obviously we did not want any confrontation as it could get physical. So we took a safe option, that is into the forest," he said in a press conference yesterday, 2 February.
"Not just me, I think Melaka (executive councillor) Datuk Mohd Rafiq Naizamohideen and Bersatu Johor chairman Mazlan Bujang did the same."
The minister said he escaped via "a rat path" and "as if he was a criminal".
A photo of Syed Saddiq climbing over a fence under the dark sky quickly went viral after the incident.
Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak uploaded the picture too. He made fun of the minister, asking if Syed Saddiq abandoned his mother in the process and dubbing him as "Menteri Panjat Pagar" (Fence Climbing Minister).
The Muar MP claims that the gatecrashers are members linked to United Malays National Organisation (UMNO)
However, UMNO Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki denied Syed Saddiq's accusation, saying that the youngest Cabinet minister is merely pushing the blame to UMNO, after the latter had failed to manage the divide in his fraction, reported Malaysiakini.
"You have gone overboard Syed Saddiq. You (Bersatu Youth) fight among yourselves in the Bersatu Youth election season (and you) accuse UMNO of causing it," said Asyraf.
"If you dare, lodge a police report and state your accusations (in the report) as clearly as you are writing it in the Facebook post. It will be easy for UMNO Youth to sue you for making a false report."
The police have since arrested three individuals involved in the rioting
Two suspects who are believed to be 'masterminds' of the gatecrash were arrested on Friday, while another was arrested on Sunday, reported The Star.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador said that the case is currently investigated under:
- Section 153 of the Penal Code: wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot,
- Section 355 of the Penal Code: attacking or using criminal force with intent to dishonour a person,
- Section 357 of the Penal Code: attacking or using criminal force in an attempt to wrongfully confine a person, and
- Section 506 of the Penal Code: criminal intimidation.