Pakatan Harapan chairperson Dr Mahathir Mohamad took a gastronomic swipe at Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak over the latter's revelation that he had switched from eating rice to the South American-produced quinoa.
“Saya makan nasi beras tempatan sahaja (I only eat local rice),” said the former prime minister, who hails from Kedah, which is known as the rice bowl of Malaysia, in a Twitter posting this afternoon.
The posting also featured an image of a smiling Najib accompanied by the quote, “Saya tak makan nasi, saya makan quinoa (I don't eat rice, I eat quinoa).”
Below this was the image of a beggar, with the caption: “Yang dia makan (what Najib eats) quinoa 250gm (cost) RM15, yang rakyat makan (what the people eat) beras (rice) 1kg (cost) RM2.70.”
Saya makan Nasi beras temapatan sahaja ✌🏻 pic.twitter.com/QtyrGwVF0y— Dr Mahathir Mohamad (@chedetofficial) February 23, 2018
Speaking at the live Budget 2018 sharing session at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in Bangi yesterday, Najib said he controls his diet as opposed to exercising in order to keep fit.
“(I) don't (exercise often)... I like to eat. My problem is that I love food, like most Malaysians.
“We love food. I have to control. For example, I don't eat rice, I eat quinoa, my son introduced me to quinoa,” he added.
At this point, the host asked him what quinoa is and the prime minister explained that it was the staple food of the Inca people, which is much healthier than rice.
“It comes from Peru, the Inca people planted it 3,000 years ago. It is protein-based, has less carbohydrate and less sugar. So it is better than rice.
“I'm trying to find out if the equivalent to quinoa can be grown in Malaysia,” he added.
Najib's remarks courted flak from DAP lawmaker Lim Lip Eng, who claimed that the prime minister is out of touch with the hardship faced by Malaysians.
“This kind of national leader does not know that his people are facing economic hardship.
“If ordinary folk can substitute rice with quinoa, then Malaysia's income level must be higher than high-income nations. But this is not the case,” said the Segambut MP.