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M'sia netizens see red over Najib's 'kangkung' remark
Publication Date : 15-01-2014
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has landed himself in the soup after reproaching Malaysians for blaming the government when food prices go up and not being appreciative when food prices drop.
In a YouTube video that has gone viral, Najib was seen saying in Malay: "When prices of things go up, everything goes up, including sawi (mustard green) and kangkung (water spinach). There are times when the prices of vegetables go up and down.
"Today I read in the newspaper that the prices of some things have dropped. The price of kangkung increased before this and now it has gone down," he added.
"When this happens, they don't want to praise the government. But when it rises, they blame the government... This is not fair as it is due to weather conditions."
His remarks on the video that was posted on January 12 was greeted with brickbats and ridicule on social networking sites, even on the Malaysian leader's own Facebook page.
Images created by netizens, including one showing a kangkung burger and another digitally doctored picture featuring Mr Najib holding up a bunch of the cheap vegetable in his hand, have been making their rounds in cyberspace.
One Twitter user who uses the handle @harvinthskin wrote: "The next time you wanna call someone cheap, just call them a #kangkung."
From electricity and petrol to food, Malaysians are experiencing a steady climb in the cost of living. Economists warn that inflation - now under 3 per cent - will be a serious challenge this year as the subsidy rationalisation programme hits the pocket.
Fuel subsidies were first to be cut, resulting in petrol prices rising from 1.90 ringgit (US$0.58) to 2.10 ringgit ($0.64) a litre last September. This was followed by the lifting of subsidies for sugar, now at 2.80 ringgit ($0.86) a kg from 2.50 ringgit ($0.76) last October.
And this week, the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry suspended the export of six types of fish to curb the spiralling price of fish, the supply of which has plunged due to the monsoon season.