M’sian PM Ismail Sabri wears S$2,190 shirt that costs 3.3 times median M’sian salary

The garment was described by Burberry as " a cotton shirt layered with Italian-woven silk organza".

Andrew Koay | June 28, 2022, 08:22 PM

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Prime Minister of Malaysia Ismail Sabri Yaakob has turned heads with a recent sartorial choice.

Images posted on Ismail Sabri's Facebook page on Jun. 25 showed the 62-year-old sporting a rather flamboyant red and pink short-sleeved Burberry shirt.

Image from Ismail Sabri's Facebook page

Image from Ismail Sabri's Facebook page

The garment, described as " a cotton shirt layered with Italian-woven silk organza", will set you back S$2,190 on Burberry's Singapore website; the Malaysian website lists the shirt at RM6,900.

It is no longer available for purchase online.

The hefty price tag was not lost on opposition member of parliament Fahmi Fadzil, who told Malaysiakini that Ismail Sabri should have been more careful with his clothing choices.

"At a time when more and more people are suffering due to the rising cost of goods, the prime minister should not be seen to be isolated from the rakyat’s (ordinary people's) reality," he said.

"It is strange that the PM prioritises the national language but highlights a 'colonial brand'," tweeted fellow opposition politician Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad.

Meanwhile, others online highlighted that the cost of acquiring the Prime Minister's shirt would represent a significant chunk of the average Malaysian's salary.

A report from the Prime Minister's Department on salaries and wages released in 2021 found that the median salary in Malaysia in 2020 was RM2,062; the Ismail Sabri's shirt is 3.3 times that amount.

Previously wore a Burberry shirt as well

It's not the first time that Ismail Sabri has been scrutinised for his dressing.

When he met Singapore's Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, in Tokyo in May 2022, an image published on PM Lee's Facebook page showed Ismail Sabri in another Burberry shirt.

Image from PM Lee's Facebook page

Slightly cheaper, the "short-sleeve abstract print cotton shirt" will set you back a nifty S$1,790.

In a reference to this previous incident, Kepong member of parliament Lim Lip Eng — also an opposition politician — said that while Malaysia's Prime Minister had the liberty to dress as he wants, he could've used the opportunity to showcase the work of local designers.

"Isn't it ironic that PM ordered government officials to use only Bahasa Malaysia in events abroad but he wore a famous foreign brand shirt in a meeting with a foreign country's premier?" said Lim according to Malaysiakini.

"This is an example of the saying ‘do as I say, not as I do’."

"Ismail Sabri should ‘lead by example’ because, on the one hand, the government tells us to be financially prudent in these challenging times, but on the other hand, we are seeing the cabinet ministers openly flaunting their wealth and lifestyle," Lim added.

Top image from Ismail Sabri's Facebook and Burberry's Website