Foreign Affairs Minister apologizes for vaping in parliament, pays RM250 fine

An internet-born meme shows Hishamuddin blowing smoke, at left, and, at right, the man himself speaks to reporters at his office last Friday. Images: Fahmi Reza and Hishammuddin Hussein /Twitter
An internet-born meme shows Hishamuddin blowing smoke, at left, and, at right, the man himself speaks to reporters at his office last Friday. Images: Fahmi Reza and Hishammuddin Hussein /Twitter

Foreign Affairs Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said this morning that since he did the crime, so he paid the fine after he was caught vaping during last Thursday’s parliamentary session.

Days after a nine-second clip of Hishammuddin sneaking in a quick smoke under his face mask went viral on social media, the 59-year-old minister apologized for his “new habit” and vowed “not do it again.”

“I was compounded and paid the fine,” he said in today’s parliament sitting, referring to Thursday’s incident. “What I have done is wrong and I have already apologized for vaping in the parliament.”

The representative of the Semborong constituency said this after being questioned by Kluang representative Wong Shu Qi, who noted that the current government seems to be practicing a double standard.

“I hope we can clarify the issue in which the representative of Semborong was caught vaping in the House of Parliament,” she said, nearly two hours into this morning’s parliamentary sitting.

“To outsiders, it looks as if our government practices double standards. Our citizens are fined for flouting the law, but the representatives of the government here seem to have been spared,” the 36-year-old Democratic Action Party politician added.

Since January, those found guilty of smoking or vaping in prohibited areas, except designated “smoking zones,” can be fined RM250 (US$60). Failure to pay the fine will result in criminal action that carries a two-year prison sentence and RM10,000 (US$2,300) fine.

Meanwhile netizens have delighted in the viral moment, resulting in at least one meme created by social media users which refers to the minister as “Shishammuddin,” with his picture edited to make it look like puffs of smoke are coming from his nose and mouth.

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