KUALA LUMPUR • Holiday pictures posted on Instagram by the son of Prime Minister Najib Razak and relatives of opposition leader Muhyiddin Yassin have created a buzz in Malaysia, where everything can be tossed into the political arena.
The opposition has questioned why Datuk Seri Najib went to Australia with his family instead of visiting the flooded east coast states.
The picture showed a smiling Mr Norashman Najib taking a selfie with his father - both of them wearing cycling helmets - with the hashtag showing they were in Perth. Several bicycles could be gleaned in the sunny background in the picture which appeared to have been posted a week ago.
On the other side of the globe, Tan Sri Muhyiddin was criticised by a pro-Umno news website for going to Vienna, Austria, with his family instead of hunkering down to resolve the disarray in the opposition ranks.
The Instagram pictures, which appeared to have been posted two weeks ago, showed a large family entourage, including a scene at a park and outside a kebab joint.
Like other people, they want to do activities together, more so because they are very close.
MR RIZAL MANSOR, an aide to Mr Najib's wife Rosmah Mansor, responding to the picture of Mr Najib and his son.
In Malaysian politics, the annual monsoon floods are often used by the opposition and the opposition-leaning news sites to portray an uncaring prime minister.
Then Premier Tun Abdullah Badawi was criticised in December 2007 when he officiated at the opening of a restaurant owned by Malaysians in Perth when the east coast states were inundated by rising waters.
PM Najib in December 2014 was slammed by the opposition for playing golf with United States President Barack Obama in Hawaii, when many districts in Kelantan and Terengganu were under water.
And opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim too came under attack then, because he, too, was abroad. He apologised for not visiting the flooded states sooner but denied he was on a biking holiday in New Zealand.
Responding to the picture of Mr Najib and his son, an aide to Mr Najib's wife Rosmah Mansor said there was nothing wrong with the bonding of father and son.
"Like other people, they want to do activities together, more so because they are very close," the aide, Mr Rizal Mansor, told Malaysiakini news site yesterday. "They could have skied in Europe or rode on horses at their family ranch in Argentina," Mr Rizal added, taking a dig at Mr Muhyiddin's European trip and previous holidays in Argentina enjoyed by former premier Mahathir Mohamad, who is now an opposition leader.
An MP for opposition Parti Amanah, Raja Kamarul Bahrin Shah Raja Ahmad, told Malaysiakini that while the Prime Minister and his family were enjoying themselves, Malaysians were struggling with floods, back-to-school expenses and harsher scrutiny on the collection of income tax.
Back from his holiday, PM Najib yesterday visited Tumpat district in Kelantan, which was among the worst hit in the current flooding season.
As for Mr Muhyiddin's holiday pictures, pro-Umno site Malaysia Today showed eight pictures, saying the former deputy prime minister should have spent his energy sorting out the divided opposition.
Mr Muhyiddin is president of opposition Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.