KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian celebrity chef Redzuawan Ismail on Tuesday (Jul 9) warned former prime minister Najib Razak against jumping to conclusions and “barking at me like a mad dog”, after the veteran politician criticised him over remarks that Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA) settlers were lazy.
The two have engaged in a war of words on social media after Redzuawan, better known as Chef Wan, accused FELDA settlers of just waiting for government assistance and “breeding like cats”.
Posting on Instagram on Tuesday, the chef said his comments were sensationalised and twisted to make him look bad.
He noted that not all FELDA settlers are lazy, only a small group. His comments on how the settlers “reproduced like cats” were made in jest, said the chef.
“He (Najib) should shut his mouth … Does he not have anything better to do than … putting me down for something I didn’t say, by twisting my words?” he said.
“If he is a smart and wise man, he should have read between the lines … rather than jumping to conclusions like the rest and barking at me like a mad dog.”
The chef also recounted how he had earlier been engaged by the Ministry of Rural Development and Ministry of Entrepreneur Development under the Barisan Nasional government to give talks and motivate the settlers to be more self-driven.
He was briefed by officials on the social issues faced by the settlers, including how they were lazy, married more than once and took advantage of the government’s fertiliser scheme, he added.
On Monday, Chef Wan wrote on instagram that FELDA settlers were just waiting for assistance from the government. He said that some would even sell the fertiliser subsidies given by the government.
“With the extra cash, some get itchy and marry second and third wives, before breeding like cats!” he wrote.
This prompted a stern rebuke from Najib on the same day.
“FELDA Icon (Chef Wan). He said FELDA settlers are lazy and like to marry twice or thrice. After getting married, they reproduce like cats,” the former prime minister said.
“Never mind, he will apologise later, saying he had been once again possessed by the devil.”
Chef Wan has since edited his initial post and his comments on the settlers “breeding like cats” are said to have been removed.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Najib posted a screenshot of what he said was Chef Wan’s original Instagram post. “If he's not wrong, why has he edited his Instagram post?” he said.
This is not the first time the two have disagreed publicly.
In January, Chef Wan apologised to Najib, after a tirade against the former prime minister on the troubles faced by the FELDA. The chef had threatened to slap Najib over FELDA’s failings, resulting in some social media users threatening to boycott him.