Ex-Perak MB defends successor Saarani over ‘sardine’ remark on smartphones for students

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Datuk Saarani Mohamad speaks to the press at the Mentri Besar’s Office in Ipoh May 5, 2021. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Datuk Saarani Mohamad speaks to the press at the Mentri Besar’s Office in Ipoh May 5, 2021. — Picture by Farhan Najib

IPOH, June 17 — Former Perak mentri besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu came to the defence of Mentri Besar Datuk Saarani Mohamad today, over the latter’s ‘sardine’ remark on the issue of smartphones for 20,000 students from B40 families under the Tuisyen Cikgu Saarani (TCS) programme.

Saarani told a press conference yesterday that it is better for these students to have a smartphone than not owning one at all as it was required for online learning.

He then added, “Bila kita susah, orang bagi sardin, sardin la kita makan, tak ada nak minta ayam pulak” which translates to “In times of hardship, when people offer sardines, we should eat sardines and not insist on chicken instead.”

Saarani was referring to the Yes Altitude 3 smartphones that were donated for free by the YTL Foundation to the Tuisyen Cikgu Saarani (TCS) programme.

Ahmad Faizal said that those who had responded by insulting Saarani or belittling his efforts and contributions were behaving in an unethical and disappointing manner.

“Perak Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) fully condemns and expresses its disapproval of the actions of a handful of media practitioners and ‘netizens’ who took the opportunity to make the situation worse by hurling accusations at leaders who are trying to help ease the burden of the people,” said the Perak Bersatu chairman.

He also said that he hopes there will be no repeat of such an incident in the future.

Instead, he urged the public to spread awareness about the importance of getting inoculated to achieve the 80 per cent vaccination target in fighting the real enemy, which is Covid-19.

Ahmad Faizal also said the public must cooperate with the government to fight the pandemic.

“With the goal of ending the spread of this epidemic as soon as possible, we as the people of Perak especially need to play a real role in ensuring complete focus on the problems that arise.

“And then by the grace of God almighty, we will vanquish this pandemic,” he said.

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