Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and more than a dozen of other politicians have been called out for feasting on pricey meals ever since parliament convened, stirring online outrage for not practicing prudence amid an economic crisis.
Two days after the House of Patin restaurant that catered the meals posted online a photo of the group giving a thumbs up in front of their lunch spread, said to be located in the backbenchers’ whip room of the Parliament House, opposition MP P. Prabakaran of the Batu constituency took issue with it, questioning who was paying for them.
“Who owns the money given by these government-linked companies? This money should be used for the people, for the country’s development,” the 24-year-old said during a press conference after the end of yesterday’s parliamentary session.
He added that the meals were sponsored by the Ministry of Finance, Tenaga Nasional Berhad, the People’s Trust Council, TEKUN Nasional, Prasarana, Felda, and the Malaysian Palm Oil Board.
According to him, Muhyiddin and at least 17 other politicians from the Perikatan Nasional government who were photographed have been enjoying such meals since parliament convened on July 13, despite having a canteen in the Parliament House. The current parliament session is set to end Aug. 27.
Others pictured in the photo include UMNO politician Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim and Tanjong Karong representative Noh Omar.
“I understand that some MPs who have packed this food back to their respective homes,” Prabakaran added. “At the moment when the rakyat is struggling, when some can only afford to eat sweet potatoes, the government’s MPs continue to feast on lobsters, crabs, chickens, and a variety of delicious food.”
Muhyiddin and others photographed by the restaurant have not spoken publicly about this. House of Patin did not immediately respond to Coconuts KL’s request for comment.
A receipt shared by Prabakaran showed that the group had dined on lobsters worth RM2,785 and fried chicken worth RM560, among others, amounting to more than RM6,500 (about US$1,600).
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim reacted to the matter online, urging the new government to behave more responsibly, especially as more citizens are expected to become jobless.
“According to the Malaysian Department of Statistics, the current number of unemployed Malaysians has reached more than 800,000, which covers 5.3% of citizens,” he wrote on Twitter.
“The unemployment rate is expected to increase to a million Malaysians by the end of this year. I hope the current government will be more ethical and show us a good example.”
Others joined in to question the politicians.
“Nearly RM3K just for udang galah (lobster). Saddiq eating packed food in Parliament doesn’t seem so bad now eh?” political secretary Syahredzan Johan said, referring to that one time former minister Syed Saddiq was criticized for eating in Parliament.
“Oh hello Art Harun. Are the lobsters yummy?” Twitter user @TheMamu asked, calling out the Parliament Speaker, whose real name is Azhar Azizan Harun, who was also pictured at the feast.
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