Kangkung Factor

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(Among the many funny things posted on Najib’s statement that the price of kangkung had gone down, this stands in my mind as the funniest bit. I just love Ronald’s face on the second photo – it looks like he had answered too many phone calls asking for McKangkung. Images source: Facebook)

If you have missed out on the joke on Najib, look again – it’s on the front page of BBC, rather cheekily titled “Laughing Stalk“:-

Malaysia’s prime minister is being widely lampooned on social media for a comment he made about the price of kangkung, or water spinach.

Food is a faux pas minefield for politicians, especially when it’s perceived as being used in a get-down-with-the-people kind of way – think of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s pasty moment or Chancellor George Osborne’s “posh burger” tweet. The almost inevitable response seems to be ridicule. That’s where the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak finds himself right now. With the government under fire because of price hikes in basics like fuel and electricity, he chose to push back by highlighting a reduction in the cost of the leafy green vegetable kangkung.

Kangkung – also known as water spinach, morning glory and Chinese spinach – is widely eaten in Malaysia, and is cooked as a stir-fry with a little garlic or chilli paste. But it’s cheap, grows wild alongside streams, paddy fields and drains, and is not considered a staple. Moments after a video of the prime minister was posted making the comments, the sarcasm and jokes began to trend on social media in Malaysia.

There have been hundreds of thousands of tweets, a Facebook page set up – with 10,000 followers already – a YouTube re-mix of his comments, the lyrics to popular and traditional folk songs have been re-worked, and “Keep calm and eat kangkung” T-shirts have been made and rushed to market.

(Source)

Thanks to Najib, the whole world is laughing at Malaysia!

But certainly it is not a laughing matter. All items that was promised (during the election campaign) to cost lower went the other way around. And just when you thought that these idiots would have learned a thing or two from the whole kangkung incident, they decided to go on an overdrive and make a fool of themselves many times over:-

A special Cabinet committee formed to tackle the high cost of living will look at the root causes of price increases to check unreasonable or arbitrary hikes. The committee, representing various ministries, understands that not all price increases stem from government fiscal consolidation measures. Some are due to market structural issues, including supply and sale, with unscrupulous businessmen exploiting the situation, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

(Source)

What, only now the Government want to set up some shit and want to find out “why” the cost of living had gone up!

You mean to say that they have been sticking their head in the ground all this time? Issue with market structural issues, including supply and sale, with unscrupulous businessmen exploiting the situation sprang up only now and without any warnings? Don’t you think it is a bit too late now especially the issue of price hike was actually raised and discussed in detail long before Christmas last year? Still remember one kangkung Minister telling off the consumer that if they feel that the price of chicken is high, then don’t eat chicken? Back then, this seemed to be the only best solution that they can come up with when consumers hit back at the Government on the drastic price hikes. One idiot went aboard with the “leave Malaysia if you don’t like BN” call which left many speechless. Perhaps all of them were aiming for the grand Kangkung of the Year award. 

Anyway why you need a special (ahem!) committee when you know they are only going to waste time and a lot of taxpayers money and in the end would still be clueless on why there has been a drastic price hike of essential things? At the most, they will come back and say that the increase is justified, it cannot be controlled and thus the Government have done its best and should not be blamed for it. Perhaps they will even justify the kangkung statement from Najib. This is what will happen at the end of day. The reason is this is simple – we had a handful of committees all the way from Pak Lah’s time too but nothing positive came out from these committees.

It does not take rocket science to know that there is a cascading effect on the price of basic items once you hike up the petrol and toll charges. The other part that causes unreasonable or arbitrary hikes is corruption, unnecessary  spending (what happened to that 2nd private jet that was rumored recently?) and lack of enforcement (if you say that the business owners raises the prices arbitrarily – then why they are not booked?). You still need a special committee to investigate the root cause? Why not entrust the related Government departments to do up the study and propose immediate action plan to the Government? Or this too has been curtailed by the billion ringgit consultants? Don’t you think with this, even the best kangkung jokes seemed rather pale?

Think about it and in the meantime, enjoy this video (ya, more kangkung jokes and it only shows that the Malaysians are always step ahead of the low thinking politicians):-

Have a good weekend ahead and make sure you take up a lot of kangkung (last I heard, it was cheap, very cheap)…

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