- Reuters, Berita Harian, The Straits Times
An unassuming traditional South American grain has found itself in the spotlight this week.
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa), a wheat-free protein grain, became the subject of heated discussion on the Internet after Prime Minister Najib Razak reportedly said he preferred it over rice.
Social media users were quickly angered by his comment, calling him out of touch with the people, given the high price of quinoa in the country where rice is a staple.
And when former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad jumped on the bandwagon by tweeting that he only ate local rice, Najib bit back, highlighting that the 92-year-old’s penchant for rearing horses.
“Even my quinoa diet can become an issue. I also normally eat nasi lemak and nasi kunyit etc,” Sin Chew Daily quoted the Prime Minister as saying.
The 64-year-old added: “But Mahathir did not think about how much feed costs for one of his horses. I believe it is even more expensive than a person’s food. One month’s supply of horse feed costs more than the cost of quinoa I consume over three years.
“Do you all know how many horses Mahathir owns?”
According to Free Malaysia Today, Barisan Nasional strategic communications unit (BNSC) deputy director Eric See-To had previously claimed that Mahathir owned close to 40 horses.