PETALING JAYA (Sept 8): Actor and model Zoey Rahman has apologised for throwing food aid at underprivileged members of the Bajau Laut community.
The 37-year-old drew criticism from social media users after posting a TikTok video of his visit to the community at an island near Mabul, Sabah last Tuesday (August 30).
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The clip shows Zoey filming himself as he and his crew flung packed snacks at a small crowd of Bajau Laut women and children gathered in boats around them.
The video also singles out an older woman, who according to Zoey, did not manage to receive anything.
“I told her, I’m sorry, because all the food had run out,” the caption reads, followed by another caption urging viewers to pray for the woman.
Taking to Instagram yesterday (September 7), Zoey said he was forced to fling the packed snacks from his boat due to safety concerns.
“(I) apologise for being rude, we had to do so otherwise those at the back (of the crowd) would not have been able to receive any food,” he said in an edited caption.
“And we were scared that they would get onto our boat, so we were forced to maintain safety.
“Anyone who has been there will know what the situation is like,” he said.
He also told mStar that he welcomed the criticism, adding that the video could serve as a “guide” for others looking to help the Orang Laut community.
“(Perhaps) those who wish to give aid will be ready with larger quantities of goods to be distributed to the residents there,” he said.
Zoey, also known as Mohd Hairey Azhar Abdul Rahman, earlier faced ire from social media users who were unimpressed by his display of “kindness”.
“Your intention to give aid is good, but the way you threw the food at them implies that you look down at those people,” said one Instagram user.
“If you want to help, do so in a more productive and orderly way… work with local non-governmental organisations there,” said another user.
The Bajau Laut are a nomadic seafaring community living in the Sulu archipelago between Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia.
Many in the community are stateless, and lack access to resources such as formal education and healthcare. – Malay Mail