PETALING JAYA: A remark by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on the price of kangkung, which he observed had gone down but went unnoticed in the midst of price increases, has become a talking point on social media.
Netizens have lampooned him over the past few days over the matter and it has gone viral. The remark has also been picked up by and reported by the foreign media.
However, there are those who have come to the defence of the Prime Minister who say he merely pinpointed uncontrollable factors affecting food prices and supply.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia geopolitical lecturer Prof Fuad Mat Jali said Najib was just trying to pinpoint the fact that food prices fluctuated because of factors beyond one’s control such as the weather.
“People should help give ideas on ways and means to ease public burden instead of wasting time making baseless comments,” he said.
A former public relations practitioner who wanted to be known as Jamaliah said it was not right to spin for the sake of spinning.
“The Prime Minister mentioned kangkung, as it happened to be one of the items in the reduced price list on that particular day.
“What is so wrong in giving kangkung as an example?” she asked.
PAS information chief Datuk Mahfuz Omar however rubbed it in, saying he was about to enjoy kangkung masak kurma.
Najib’s remark over dipping kangkung prices and lack of public appreciation has caused a deluge of reactions on the Internet, including video clips uploaded to YouTube over the matter.
An individual is even offering T-shirts with the words “Keep Calm and Eat Kangkung” at RM29.90 with free shipping.
Among other creative works posted on the Net include a kangkung re-mix video, and online posters of a McKangkung burger, and KFB (Kangkung Fried Belacan).
A kangkung Facebook page has been created, attracting more than 40,000 likes, while some netizens declared Jan 13 was “World Kangkung Day”.
The kangkung faux pas has also attracted the attention of the international media, including the BBC and the Singapore Times.
BBC reported that the Malaysian Prime Minister was being widely lampooned on social media for a comment he made about the price of kangkung.
It said food was a faux pas minefield for politicians, especially when it is perceived as being used in a get-down-with-the-people kind of way, citing examples of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s pasty moment and Chancellor George Osborne’s “posh burger” tweet.