When it rains, it pours. For cabinet ministers, their publicity stunts amidst flood relief efforts have continued to draw scorn.
This time, negative publicity is centred on Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who allegedly posed rather disingenuously with a shovel during a gotong royong (communal clean up) in a flood-hit area.
Ismail visited the Hulu Langat area yesterday as part of a whirlwind tour, stopping by several locations, including Taman Sri Nanding and Kampung Dusun Tua.
The events were billed as the “Keluarga Malaysia” gotong-royong programme.
According to a video clip of the event widely shared on Twitter, Ismail was made to pose in front of press cameras with a shovel.
Ismail scooped up and tossed some dirt while the theme from Jurassic Park played in the background. After one scoop, the shovel was handed to a person in a Fire Department uniform.
The Prime Minister’s Office has been contacted for clarification. This story will be updated when they reply.
At the time of writing, the video clip, shared by Twitter user @sofeahjoned has been retweeted more than 6,000 times. Most people who replied were critical of the authorities.
Twitter users noted that Ismail’s apparent gaffe occurred just after a similar outrage over Women, Family and Community Development Minister Rina Harun was criticised over another gaffe.
Rina was criticised for posing with a water jet, cleaning a school after it was used as a flood-relief centre. According to the Welfare Department, which is under Rina’s ministry, the minister used the water jet to remove lizard and bird droppings.
Twitter user @LuqaLFS speculated that the Prime Minister’s Office would resort to a similar explanation tomorrow.
Lawyer Syahredzan Johan sarcastically tweeted that Ismail should “wait his turn” because Twitter users were still busy criticising Rina.
Twitter user @UdaShafiq noted that Umno secretary-general and Pontian MP Ahmad Maslan rarely court flak for writing about his gotong-royong activities because he does it better.
“Even Ahmad Maslan does it better than this. (PM’s advisors) should refer to videos of (Ahmad) washing flood victims’ houses,” said Uda Shafiq.
Another Twitter user @masdit_r remarked that the shovelling episode reminded him of kindergarten kids.
“Seriously, what are you doing? It’s like you didn’t play enough while in kindergarten,” wrote @masdit_r.
The Hulu Langat area is downstream from the Hulu Langat dam. It was hit by severe flash floods last weekend.
Since then, various political parties and volunteer groups have been busy helping with clean up works. MKINI