Recently, the bill for a lunch enjoyed by several members of parliament went viral due to its exorbitant cost. During this lunch, Perikatan Nasional MPs dined on considerably luxurious food such as lobsters. The other items on the list were more common, albeit priced a lot higher compared to other restaurants.
The meal included fried kerai, fried chicken, gulai patin tempoyak, ulam and sambal, and mixed vege.
When the photo started circulating social media, netizens were shocked and appalled at how the ministers were enjoying lavish meals at the expense of ministerial funds and money from government-linked companies (GLC). According to Sinar Harian, these MPs were allegedly spending up to RM10,000 a day.
Those seated at the table were Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, Senior Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali, Dewan Rakyat speaker Azhar Azizan Harun, Baling MP Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, Arau MP Shahidan Kassim, and Padang Terap MP Mahdzir Khalid.
Batu MP, Prabakaran, demanded an explanation for the ridiculously expensive lunch. He questioned the need to even have lunch elsewhere when the Dewan Rakyat already serves adequate food at the cafeteria.
He claimed that several GLCs took turns to sponsor these meals. He substantiated this by providing a photo. He said,
“In the schedule, among the ministries and GLCs that offered to sponsor the banquet are the Ministry of Finance, Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), Majlis Amanah Raya (MARA), Tekun, Prasarana, FELDA, and the Malaysia Palm and Oil Board (MPOB).”
According to Prabakaran, the money that was supposed to go to the community and the economy to improve the dire effects of coronavirus has been squandered on RM2,875 lobsters and RM75 ulam – which is essentially just uncooked vegetables, mind you.
“In this COVID-19 situation when the people are just eating potatoes, they are eating udang galah.“
The banquet was so excessive that some MPs even had to tapau some of the food to take home. The Batu MP said,
“I believe several MPs had to bring the food back home. In a time where the rakyat has to starve to the point where some survive only on potatoes, the MPs can dine on lobsters, crabs, fried chicken and other delicious food.”
Many netizens were riled up and expressed that the behaviour of these MPs serves as a depiction of the misuse of national resources. Several took to Twitter to express how they feel about the MPs’ out-of-touch actions.
Peribahasa: Ada udang di sebalik batu
Maksud: Ada sesuatu maksud yang tersembunyi di sebalik sesuatu perbuatan pic.twitter.com/0KpJnZ2YYj
— Fahmi Reza (@kuasasiswa) August 5, 2020
One user, who claimed to have worked for GLCs before, admitted he wasn’t surprised by this revelation. He said that it was oddly common for there to be a wide variety of food available in meeting rooms.
When I worked with TNB, PETRONAS, FELDA and other GLCs in Malaysia, I was always blown away by the diverse array of time-appropriate foods inevitably laid out in meeting rooms. Curry puffs, donuts, noodles, kari, buah-buahan, kopi, teh, kueh. P. Prabakaran has a point. https://t.co/YCpo3CnEs3
— Oli (@oiwoods) August 5, 2020
Oh hello Art Harun. Sedap udang galah tu? pic.twitter.com/Fa3y27Oee6
— سڠ مامو ™ 🇲🇾 (@The_Mamu) August 5, 2020
One user pointed out the stark difference between lunch during the Pakatan Harapan (PH) era and the current government.
Ini makanan tengahari untuk MP semasa zaman PH. Hadir taklimat pembaharuan undang-undang sambil makan.
— Samantha chong (@Samantha__chong) August 5, 2020
Many Malaysians have lost their source of income during the pandemic and are forced to ration out their food to feed their families. Some are even locked out of their own houses since they’re incapable of paying rent. This is all happening in tandem with a luxurious RM6,000 lunch by members of parliament.
Over 60,000 Malaysian have lost their jobs since early this year. It’s nauseating how politicians are still getting their pay cheques in full while so many of them are completely out of touch with the extreme hardship and stress of the people which they are supposed to represent. https://t.co/5X6ZS6EubC
— Irsyad (@Irsydd) August 5, 2020
Sewa saya sebulan 470..dah 11 bulan tak bayar.. you want to know how bad it is for the poor out there? I get these kinds of messages every single day! Msians. This one is from Terengganu pic.twitter.com/fOWPi99JoY
— Tini z (@tiniz) August 5, 2020
Maybe these MPs should take a page out of Syed Saddiq’s book and bawa bekal instead of spending money that isn’t theirs to begin with on boiling alive these crustaceans that otherwise live over a 100 years.
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