Malaysians recently expressed their distaste over Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s quinoa diet, which made “quinoa” one of the top internet search terms in Malaysia over the past few days.
The people’s reaction to Najib’s diet went beyond their disapproval of the prime minister’s spending habits or wealth, and is a demonstration of Najib’s and the BN’s continuous refusal to acknowledge their failure in governing and managing the country’s economy, which has left many of its citizens vulnerable.
What Najib and his cabinet have been doing is turning away concerned Malaysians, churning out parti pris facts and data, and hoping that BN’s incompetence in running the economy can be concealed.
It is as if there is a junk mail section in government’s mailbox, specifically archiving the people’s complaints about the cost of living, lack of job opportunities and diminishing purchasing power. All they are expected to do is to expect another insensible remark from Najib to tell them they should not be complaining because the economy is doing just fine.
Malaysians can still remember that Najib was full of praise on the country’s 5.9 percent GDP growth in 2017.
Malaysians can still remember that Najib told them not to complain about GST when India’s consumption tax was higher.
Malaysians can still remember Najib’s remark that rising number of Malaysians travelling abroad signals the health of the economy.
Malaysians can still remember that Najib dismissed the youths’ economic concerns by advising us to revise our lifestyle spending, such as having RM8 meals in stalls, instead of RM800 at a Japanese restaurant.
However, what Malaysians will never get answered are their questions on BN’s long-term solutions in providing job opportunities to the youth, in creating a sustainable economy atmosphere where wealth can be fairly distributed to the people, in ensuring people’s purchasing power can be improved, in creating wealth among people instead of resorting to temporary reliefs such as BR1M and other handouts, and putting Malaysia on the right path to be one of the strongest economies in the world.
What Malaysians will never hear from BN is that the government is listening to them, and would like to address their economic concerns.
It is therefore justified for people to react distastefully to learn about Najib’s quinoa diet.
Not just because the grain is 23 times more expensive than what most Malaysians are eating, but being reminded about their unaddressed frustrations, which could have been easily rectified by BN, had they had the will to do so.