Rina Harun, the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development has drawn almost constant criticism over the past year for stunts which never seem to come off well.
From appearing in a Hari Raya ad as a Foodpanda rider, to wearing high heels to a flood evacuation centre, Rina’s name has trended on Twitter so many times at this point that it’s almost hard to keep track of it all.
However, her latest stunt may prove the most memorable.
Yesterday, 26 December, a much-shared video emerged on Twitter showing Rina decked out in workout attire using a water jet.
In light of the recent historic floods, you’d presume that the video is of her cleaning a victim’s home – as many hundreds of volunteers have done over the past week – but if you take a closer look, you will find that not only is the floor pavement almost spotless, but a whole entourage of photographers and handlers were watching on, documenting the whole thing.
Perhaps predictably, the video drew intense criticism from all corners, with many politicians also slamming the minister.
Media entrepreneur and personality Hussamuddin Yaacub tweeted that Rina is “surrounded by less-than-smart advisors” and that “almost all of her PR stunts don’t work”.
Meanwhile, UMNO Kinabatangan MP Bung Mokhtar Radin also asked rhetorically whether she “really wants to help or wants to make a movie?”
The government Social Welfare Department (JKM) has since released a media statement, which has also been panned online.
Entitled ‘Minister Uses Water Jet To Wash Clean Cement Pavement’, the agency said that it organised a cleanup of school in Salak Tinggi which had been used as a temporary flood evacuation centre, from where the video was taken.
“JKM, as the department that manages the operation, had requested Rina’s assistance to clean up bird and lizard dropping stains that were difficult to get rid of.”
In response, many commenters left less than cordial responses, with some highlighting the incredulity of the “bird and lizard dropping stain” claim.
One user wrote, “In my 25 years of living next to a river and getting hit with floods, I have never heard of using a water jet to clean lizard droppings.”
Another wrote that JKM ought not to mock “the intelligence of Malaysians” as “clearly the cement pavement is spotless.”
Despite the slew of negative responses, JKM clarified that Rina did get involved with cleaning the school as she helped with rearranging tables and chairs in classrooms as well as packing away tents used by flood victims for future use.