KOTA KINABALU: Umno Youth member Wan Muhammad Azri Wan Deris, better known as blogger Papagomo, was involved in a fracas with about a group of about 20 men at the airport here as he and his supporters were about to leave for Kuala Lumpur.
Papagomo had sparked the anger of Sabahans three days ago after he was said to have ripped up a photo of Warisan president Mohd Shafie Apdal, who is Sabah chief minister.
Police said this evening that the men who confronted Papagomo were from an organisation led by Mohd Akjan Datu Ali Muhammad.
Akjan is known to head the Bajau organisation Pertubuhan Permuafakatan Perpaduan Peranakan Suluk Bajau Negeri Sabah.
FMT photographer Mohamed Rabbani, who witnessed the airport incident, said about 20 men approached Papagomo and his group, who were in blue Barisan Nasional uniform. A shouting match started.
“The men were in plain clothes. Papagomo and his friends, about 10 of them, were at the Malindo Air check-in counter.
“Both groups were seen shouting vulgarities at each other. One person was seen pointing at Papagomo, calling him “anjing kurap,” Rabbani said.
Papagomo was also seen trying to fight back but was held back by those near him.
Police rushed to the area, while Papagomo was hurried to the departure gates, away from the commotion.
“After they passed through the departure gates, the group were heard singing “Terima Kasih Sabah” (Thank you Sabah),” Rabbani said.
Kota Kinabalu police chief Habibi Majinji told FMT that Papagomo was confronted by Akjan’s men at the airport lobby at about 7.30pm.
They demanded that he apologise to Shafie for ripping up Shafie’s photo while at a Barisan Nasional Youth rally on Jan 16 for the Kimanis by-election.
Habibi said: “A verbal argument had ensued between Papagomo and Akjan’s men, resulting in a pushing match between them. The police had to step in to control the situation and Papagomo was brought into the departure hall.”
There were about 20 men in the Akjan’s group and Habibi noted that Papagomo had about 10 of his friends with him.
Papagomo had been in Sabah to support the election campaign of Barisan Nasional candidate Mohamad Alamin in the Kimanis by-election.
Mohamad Alamin was elected yesterday by a 2,029-vote margin over his rival, Karim Bujang of Warisan.
Police said no report had been received about today’s incident but they had taken note of the events.
After the photo incident on Jan 16, a video was widely circulated showing an old man demanding that Papagomo stop his display of disrespect to the state leader.
Several Warisan members had also demanded that Papagomo be banned from entering Sabah.