Ex-Young PAP member apologises for offensive photo

Fann Sim

Former Young People's Action Party (YP) member Jason Neo, who caused an uproar online after posting a Facebook photo of children on a school bus with an offensive caption, has written an apology to the pre-school.

According to The Sunday Times (ST), he also asked Huda Kindergarten to allow him to visit to make the apology in person.

Neo is currently under police investigation for posting a picture of young Malay schoolchildren on a religious preschool bus with a caption saying, "Bus filled with young t*******t trainees?".

The letter, which ST also received, said "I wish to offer Huda Kindergarten, its students and their parents or guardians my utmost sincere and unreserved apology. I had no intention whatsoever to cause any hurt or offence to your school, or to the members of any race or religion."

He admitted that the posting was done "in a moment of folly", and has since deleted it from his Facebook account.

"I humbly seek Huda Kindergarten's forgiveness for my insensitive action. I will also be honoured if you permit me to visit Huda Kindergarten to apologise in person for the hurt I have caused." he said.

YP's chairman and vice-chairman, Teo Ser Luck and Zaqy Mohamad also visited the kindergarten on Saturday morning to extend their apologies in person.

Syed Abdul Rahman Al Tahir, principal and owner of the kindergarten, said that Neo's letter will be forwarded to the students' parents and the school will release an official statement in the next few days.













The photo, posted in February before Neo joined the party, was brought to people’s attention after another Facebook user 27-year-old Noor Firdaus, saw the picture last Wednesday and immediately highlighted its racially offensive content.

The post triggered over 350 comments in about 30 hours, with many unhappy and shocked with the caption that accompanied the picture.

Facebook user Shatrughan Yadav, for instance, commented that Neo's actions were "too much" and he should "feel the full force of the law".

Another user Mohd Alfie said, "The authority should have this person make a public apology especially to every one of those kids parents for saying what he (said)."

Firdaus tagged various politicians when he reposted the picture, including PAP Members of Parliament (MP) Zaqy Mohamad, who is also YP vice-chairman, and Intan Azura as well as Workers’ Party MP Muhamad Faisal Manap and NSP Party member Syafarin Sarif.
 
He also contacted new PAP MP for Sembawang GRC Ong Teng Koon to request he get Neo to remove the picture.

Firdaus, a volunteer with opposition National Solidarity Party (NSP), said he added Neo on Facebook after seeing Neo's online ad to sell his bike.
 
"I browsed through his photos saw the photo with the insensitive caption yesterday around 12 noon," said Firdaus, who then cautioned Neo to be more careful with his comments.

Firdaus also stressed that his actions were not politically motivated. “The problem is actually what’s right and what’s wrong. … If he were my NSP comrade, I will advise him firmly because I do not tolerate racist sentiments,” said Firdaus.