Questions have been raised about the first overseas visit of a Cabinet member under the current administration, after a news outlet claimed that newly appointed International Trade and Industry Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz had left for a "trade mission" overseas just a day after clocking in for work.
Local daily Berita Harian quoted an unidentified source as denying intense speculation that the former banker-turned-senator had left for Qatar, where the 2022 World Cup is underway.
Instead, the daily claimed Zafrul was in neighbouring UAE on a trade mission.
Meanwhile, a source at the international trade and industry ministry (Miti) told MalaysiaNow it had no knowledge of any trade delegation being scheduled.
A media aide to Zafrul had not responded to MalaysiaNow's queries as of press time.
Trade missions are normally handled by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority, the agency under Miti responsible for attracting foreign investments.
Zafrul's whereabouts became a topic of discussion after the Umno man, who was named as minister by Anwar Ibrahim despite losing the recent election, was a no-show at the first Cabinet meeting chaired by the prime minister today.
On social media, Zafrul's absence from the Cabinet meeting sparked a flurry of questions.
"Where's Zafrul? First cabinet meeting dah tak datang?" asked Shahrul Azwan, reacting to a picture of an empty chair during the Cabinet meeting this morning.
User AbahAtok meanwhile said that as Zafrul was absent, he could turn around and plead ignorance about "what to do and what not to do" as a minister.
"So lepas ni Zafrul can safely say 'Saya tak tahu' jika berlaku any infractions? Zafrul better have an MC to explain why he wasn't present."
The joke was then picked up by others.
"Dia ingat dia dapat cuti ganti sebab clock in hari Sabtu kot," said Amm Arlington, referring to reports that Zafrul had clocked in for his first day of work on Saturday.
Zafrul's appointment as a minister took many by surprise as the former finance minister had been a topic of Anwar's attacks on the previous administrations led by Muhyiddin Yassin and Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
Internet users also questioned why former health minister Dzulkefly Ahmad was not restored to his portfolio, despite defeating Zafrul in Kuala Selangor.