Najib praises Mahathir for using chopstick like a Chinese

Many Malaysians online agreed that Mahathir used chopsticks better than most Chinese people.

Matthias Ang | December 14, 2021, 04:52 PM

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Former prime minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad, created a stir on Dec. 12 when he said the Chinese custom of eating with chopsticks is an example of why it is difficult to assimilate the non-Malay population in the country.

Mahathir's comments subsequently drew a backlash online, with Malaysia's former finance minister Lim Guan Eng slamming the remarks as "simplistic" and "offensive".

Najib "applauds" Mahathir's chopsticks skills

Meanwhile, another of Malaysia's former prime ministers, Najib Razak, shared his thoughts on the matter by uploading two photos of Mahathir using chopsticks at what appeared to be a Chinese New Year event, while smiling and raising the lo hei high above his head.

Najib retorted: "Expert skill. šŸ‘".

The post has since gone viral with more than 75,000 reactions and 10,000 shares on Facebook.

Malaysian netizens point out that Mahathir is more skilled than most Chinese in using chopsticks

Several Malaysian online commenters have since reacted to Najib's post by highlighting how exceptionally skilled Mahathir appears to be in wielding the culinary tool, apparently even more so than most Malaysian Chinese.

Source: Screenshot via Najib Razak Facebook

Source: Screenshot via Najib Razak Facebook

Source: Screenshot via Najib Razak Facebook

One of them also questioned if this meant that Mahathir himself was not well-assimilated into Malay society.

Source: Screenshot via Najib Razak Facebook

The post also appears to have resulted in a surge of popularity for Najib.

Source: Screenshot via Najib Razak Facebook

Not the first person online to point out that Mahathir has used chopsticks before

Najib is not the first person online to have pointed out that Mahathir has used chopsticks before.

On the day Mahathir made his controversial comments, Twitter user @lainie upload a non-cropped version of one of the photos used by Najib, in which Mahathir could be seen using chopsticks alongside his wife, Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's wife, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, at a Chinese New Year event.

Mahathir has also posted videos and photos of himself using chopsticks, such as during the Chinese New year period in January 2020, to his own Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10157013063088652&id=12411993651

What exactly did Mahathir say?

At the launch of his new memoir, "Capturing Hope: The Struggle Continues for a New Malaysia", on Dec. 12, MahathirĀ said:

"They (the Chinese in Malaysia) preserve their own community, their own customs, their own ways.

For example, the Chinese eat with chopsticks, they don't eat with their hands. They have not adopted the Malaysian way of eating food. They retained the chopstick which is an identity with China, not with Malaysia, and many other things."

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Top screenshots via Najib Razak Facebook