Aeon hypermarket shoppers in Tebrau City, Johor received the surprise of their night yesterday, when Johor’s crown prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim (TMJ) came to mingle with them as they did their weekly grocery run. He then announced a RM3,000 (US$1,250) cash gift for every shopper there, telling them they had until 8PM to decide on their final purchases.
Basically, every bill-paying, money-saving adult’s dream came true last night.
Taking to Facebook, he wrote: “I’m no politician. I do not need votes. But I genuinely love my people. Always with you Bangsa Johor. I’m on Johor’s side.” He included over two dozen photos of smiling shoppers, eager to take advantage of his generous offer.
Today, the same shopping center is closed until further notice after photos of the alleged chaos, mess, and abandoned (some say, unpaid) goods left behind by shoppers made it online. Aeon is said to be investigating.
The generous move comes days after a public backlash over a Facebook post where he indirectly criticized former PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad, while he was on a weekend visit to the state, calling him a “forked tongue individual.” Some interpreted the post as evidence of the crown prince asking his people not to vote for the opposition.
There is some past history between the elderly candidate and Johor family: Mahathir’s tenure in government saw a dissolution of royal immunity in Malaysia, leading to very unsavory incidents coming to light, as well as an attempt to disband the state’s army, the Johor Military Force.
Many thought the timing TMJ’s good-will suspicious, and a cheap publicity stunt.
However, costing him RM1 million (US$250,000), we’ll argue with the relativity of “cheap” here.