PETALING JAYA – Prime Minister Najib Razak defended his quinoa diet saying it was cheaper than the horse feed former PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad buys for his horses.
“Even my quinoa diet can become an issue. I also eat nasi lemak, nasi kunyit but quinoa becomes an issue.
“But Mahathir did not think about his horses, which are costly. One month’s supply of horse feed can buy me quinoa for three years,” Najib was as saying quoted in Sin Chew Daily.
Najib, during a gathering with leaders in Negeri Sembilan today, also asked whether they knew the number of horses Mahathir has.
Barisan Nasional strategic communications unit (BNSC) deputy director Eric See-To had claimed two years ago that Mahathir had revealed that he kept 40 horses and questioned Mahathir’s yearly horse-riding vacation to Argentina.
On Feb 23, Mahathir, the Pakatan Harapan chairperson, mocked Najib over his revelation that the PM had switched from eating rice to the South American-produced quinoa as part of his diet.
“I only eat local rice,” the former prime minister, wrote in a Twitter posting.
In a question-and-answer session on the 2018 Budget at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia on Feb 22, Najib said he did not eat rice but quinoa, which was introduced to him by his son.
Najib had said the grain was better than rice as it was high in protein and low in sugar and carbohydrates.
On Feb 23, DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang lashed out at Najib over his diet of quinoa, which the Gelang Patah MP said costs 23 times more than rice.
Adding that most households were struggling to get by, Lim said Najib’s remarks reminded him of French queen Marie Antoinette, who was supposed to have said “Let them eat cake” when she learned that the peasants had no bread.
According to Lim, the going price for a 250g pack of organic quinoa at Tesco was RM14.80.
“In other words, quinoa, which Najib eats, is about 23 times more expensive than rice, eaten by 30 million Malaysians.”