Cooking show celebrity Chef Wan has apologised for threatening to slap former Prime Minister Najib Razak over his claim that Felda settlers flourished under the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration.
Felda, or the Federal Land Development Authority, handles the resettlement of the rural poor into newly-developed areas.
Earlier on Sunday (Jan 20), Chef Wan had threatened to slap Najib after the latter claimed that Felda settlers enjoyed a “golden age” under BN rule, Malay Mail reported.
The chef, whose real name is Datuk Redzuanwan Ismail, is the son of a Felda settler in Sungai Koyan, Bernama said. He returned to the area to host a cooking show on Jan 20, while Najib – currently Pekan MP – visited the area as part of his campaign trail for the upcoming Cameron Highlands by-election.
Felda settlers and the Orang Asli (indigenous Malay) community form 22 per cent of voters in Cameron Highlands, Malay Mail said.
Najib also blamed Pakatan Harapan for the low incomes of Felda settlers – saying some had monthly incomes as low as RM74, Malay Mail reported.
Chef Wan, however, pointed out that the former PM had appointed a “corrupt” individual – Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad – to helm Felda, resulting in the government agency being embroiled in multiple financial scandals and accruing a massive debt of RM8 billion.
Najib did not respond to Chef Wan’s comments, saying he would not “entertain him”, Malay Mail stated in a separate report. The former PM added that the government handouts previously given to the settlers were not bribes, but financial assistance.
The chef’s comments toward Najib resulted in angry netizens spamming the Facebook page of Go Shop, a 24-hour online shopping platform, of which Redzuanwan is an ambassador, to boycott his products.
BOYCOTT GO SHOP – Chef Wan just changed his Instagram account to private after being whacked. pic.twitter.com/9eYv6Y1Hxu
— BrotherBatu Return (@morasaki12) January 21, 2019
On Monday (Jan 21), Chef Wan took to his private Instagram account to issue an apology for using “vulgar language” against Najib, The Star reported.
The Star quoted him saying he only made the comment because he was “very angry”, and “was possessed by a demon and went berserk”.
He was also quoted adding: “But if we make a big mistake, we must swallow our pride and admit our shortcomings, just like what I’m doing this morning… However, that does not mean what I said yesterday isn’t right.”
However, Democratic Action Party adviser Lim Kit Siang tweeted in support of Chef Wan, calling him a better “role model” for young Felda settlers compared to Najib.
Chef Wan, world-famous celebrity chef, should be the role model for all young Felda settlers to become world champions and not to emulate wrong models to become whether the king of kleptocracy or of trolls – https://t.co/WbIg271qjM pic.twitter.com/wWLmYxBGGS
— Lim Kit Siang (@limkitsiang) January 21, 2019
In a media statement posted to his blog, Lim added that Felda’s ‘Golden Age’ was during Tun Razak’s tenure, and that Najib’s “kleptocratic premiership” had “betrayed” the interests of generations of Felda settlers by failing to turn the settlement into an economic powerhouse.