Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chief Hasan Arifin said he literally meant ‘looking for food’ when he uttered, ‘ Saya pun cari makan ’.
The term ‘ cari makan ’ is often used to express the need to earn a living and the Rompin MP explained this was not what he intended to convey when quizzed on the reasons behind PAC’s decision not to summon Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak over its 1MDB probe.
Furthermore, he said the remark was off the record as it was made in jest with the intention to be friendly with the media, for whom he provided lunch.
"As the press conference was coming to a close, I invited the media to lunch and after that joked ' saya pun cari makan ' to create a more friendly environment with the media.
"I also informed the media that what I said about ' saya pun cari makan ' should not be reported because it was just a joke," he added in a statement.
Hasan claimed that Malaysiakini , and other news portals which published the quip , were unethical and affected his relationship with the media, and his reputation as PAC chief and a politician.
Earlier, Hasan made the quip after continued grilling on why the PAC would not question the prime minister on 1MDB.
He made the remark 14 minutes into his 18-minute long press conference, while the media was only invited to lunch at the beginning and towards the tail-end of the press conference.
Hasan also did not state that his remark was off the record.
Below is the excerpt from the PAC chief’s press conference:
Reporter: From what I understand, (former PAC chief) Nur Jazlan (Mohamed) said they would call credit raters, then they said if necessary, they will call the prime minister...
Reporter: Just to add on lah, Datuk...
Hasan: (Laughs) Jangan la, saya pun nak cari makan jugak (Laughs). I'm sorry you (laughs) you (inaudible) .