'I did not ask for extra rice, Tiong is making up stories' - Sanusi

04 Dec 2023 09:55pm
Sanusi and Tiong pictured at dinner during the visit to Sadao Thailand - FILE PIX
Sanusi and Tiong pictured at dinner during the visit to Sadao Thailand - FILE PIX

ALOR SETAR - The tension and war of words between Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor and Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing Minister seem endless.

Starting with the issue of tourism in Langkawi, they are now having a war of words regarding their recent visit with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to Sadao, Thailand.

Recently, the two leaders exchanged statements regarding etiquette at the dinner table during a visit to Sadao.

Sanusi criticised Tiong's claim that he did not know the protocol in the bilateral meeting when he asked for extra rice during the banquet involving the leaders of the two countries.

"Seriously, Tiong lied about me asking for extra rice. There was no rice menu at the banquet with the Prime Minister of Thailand. I ate the main menu, which I don't know the name of. For sure, there is no rice in that dish," he said on Monday.

According to him, without asking, the hotel staff suddenly put another dish in front of him, which had a packet of fried rice.

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"I was also surprised. Then the Prime Minister asked, Are you not eating? Are you on a diet? I replied while laughing, It's not a diet; they brought another set, which made Anwar laugh too.

"In order not to disappoint the hotel staff, I also ate half of the fried rice. Why did he make up a story like that?" he said.

Sanusi informed us that, during the banquet, he sat next to the Tourism Minister of Thailand, Sudawan Wangsuphakitkosol, while Tiong sat next to the Prime Minister of Thailand facing him.

Tiong, in his previous statement, had critiqued Sanusi by saying, "When it's an official lunch, you (Sanusi) ask for a second helping. As a minister, I find it strange that a Menteri Besar doesn't know protocol and doesn't know respect."

Before that, Sanusi, in the Kedah State Legislative Assembly meeting on Wednesday, made fun of Tiong's appearance, calling him a “pot-bellied deity."

Tiong responded by saying, "Is Sanusi's brain full of water? He is insulting another religion with his words, insulting a temple."

Sanusi had accused Tiong of not doing enough to promote Kedah’s tourism when accompanying Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim at the meeting with Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin in Sadao, Thailand, last month.

Commenting on the matter, Sanusi hoped that Tiong would not take his jokes seriously.

"Tourism Minister, don't let it get to the point where you can't joke. Let's play rugby (to relieve tension)," he said.

In the state legislative assembly, Sanusi also made fun of Tiong's face by saying that the minister's face was not attracting tourists.

Sanusi also informed us that the number of Malaysians entering Thailand is four million per year, compared to only 1.3 million from Thailand.

Commenting on the issue, Tiong explained in a video statement that Sanusi also needs to be responsible for the unequal number of tourists entering the two countries.

"Can't you do the promotion yourself? Why are you accusing other people when it is your mistake?

"I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I hear Sanusi's argument. Does Sanusi have to be so upset to release such a statement? Is this the mentality and attitude of a Menteri Besar?" he said.

Before the issue arose, the two leaders exchanged statements about Langkawi tourism, which was the cause of their conflict.