BY LOOI SUE-CHERN
January 15, 2014
In protest of price hikes, a group of 15 people in Bukit Mertajam “treated” Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to 10kg of kangkung (water spinach).
They stuffed the vegetable into the mouth of a mock figure of Najib made of styrofoam while singing a modified version of the popular children’s song “Lenggang-lenggang Kangkung” to make fun of his statement.
This was done in flashmob style at a night market site at a busy traffic junction in Alma, Penang. Some passing motorists honked in support while others wound down their car windows to take pictures and videos.
Machang Bubok assemblyman Lee Khai Loon, who organised the flashmob, said it was done to raise awareness about the price hikes which are burdening the people.
“The federal government has a duty to prevent price hikes. It has the power to control subsidies and to determine the price of essentials like the power tariff.
“However, it seems that the government prefers to wash its hands off by saying that it should not be blamed for price hikes,” he said, adding that the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on April 1 next year will make things worse.
Aside from the cartoon Najib figure, the mob that was made up of members of a local cycling club, several representatives from the village security and development committee as well as from Parti Keadilan Rakyat also held up signs with anti-price hike messages and posters that made fun of Najib and his kangkung statement.
The posters featured a Colonel Sanders-looking Najib and the acronym “KFB” which stood for “Kangkung Fried Belacan”.
With the now-famous Kangkung Remix playing in the background, the mob also shouted “Turun, turun, turun harga barang”, “Hidup, hidup, hidup rakyat” and “No to GST”.
Najib is facing public ridicule for saying on Sunday that the government was never praised when prices went down. Speaking at an event in Kemaman, he mentioned the price of kangkung as an example.
What he said in his speech was shortly uploaded onto YouTube and soon went viral, drawing criticism from netizens who said Najib did not understand the hardships faced by the people following the rise in living cost.
Najib’s kangkung statement, which is now considered a joke by locals, has also gone international, gaining coverage by the Singapore Straits Times and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
Meanwhile, Jingga 13 deputy coordinator Amizuddin Ahmat said he is organising a campaign in Penang to collect one million signatures to protest the price hikes this weekend.
He said a convoy will be going around Penang mainland and George Town from Friday to Sunday to collect signatures. – January 15, 2014.