Welcome Fu Wa and Feng Yi, but what about the ‘child at home’?


V Shuman, The Ant Daily

Barely a day into the arrival of the two “expensive” giant pandas from China, tongues have already started wagging, at least in Twittersphere.

Minister of Youth and Sports Khairy Jamaluddin had on May 21 churned out a series of tweets “explaining” the presence of the bears here, and the rationale behind the government spending a whopping RM60 million on them.

In his tweets, Khairy implied that the animals were only loaned to us from China, and they were offered as a sign of friendship and rejecting the offer would have sent the wrong signal to China.

The seven-year-old bears, named Fu Wa and Feng Yi, were flown in from Chengdu, China, via a Maskargo plane on Wednesday morning — as a symbol of 40 years of diplomatic ties between Malaysia and China.

The government has to spend a staggering RM60 million — RM25 million for an enclosure for them in Zoo Negara, where they will spend the next 10 years, RM20 million for rental and another RM15 million for maintenance costs.

That’s an amount a majority of Malaysians will never make in their life time.

Khairy said the move to accept the animals was done to save face, in what he dubbed as “panda diplomacy”. He stressed that the deal to have the animals was signed prior to MH370, and not after, as some users implied.

His defensive tweets received mainly negative replies from tweeters, who questioned why the rakyat have to suffer at the expense of Malaysia impressing its counterparts.

User @ShahrulNizam_J questioned “kenapa tak bela tapir je?”(Why not just rear tapirs?).

Another user who goes by the handle @PutraREFORMASI said “hutang negara meningkat ke angka 700billion.ini pula kehadiran panda 25juta..tahun depan GST dilaksana..rakyat yng menanggung” (Nation’s debts stand at RM700 billion, and yet we can afford to have pandas for RM25million. GST will be implemented next year, it is the rakyat who will suffer).