Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim's claim that critics who cite his promise to bring down fuel prices are relying on speeches he made 15 years ago when oil was cheaper appears to have backfired, with comments flooding social media over a video clip of a similar promise he made just a year ago.
Anwar first referred to the promise of lowering fuel prices in the Dewan Rakyat last month, in response to a jibe from opposition leader Hamzah Zainudin.
The prime minister accused critics of manipulating his words, saying the pledge was made at a time when global fuel prices were low, and giving the example of how a litre of petrol in Saudi Arabia was 50 sen while the same amount was priced at RM2.21 in Malaysia.
He then reminded them that the promise to lower fuel price was also endorsed by PAS, which was part of his Pakatan Rakyat coalition at the time.
"Therefore, it is not accurate for you (opposition) to continue using comments made together when we were in Pakatan Rakyat before," he said.
PAS MP Idris Ahmad then reminded Anwar that he had repeated the same promise as recently as 2022. However, the prime minister continued drawing comparisons with Saudi Arabia where he said fuel prices were currently higher than in Malaysia.
Last Sunday, Anwar again referred to allegations that he had failed to keep his promise to bring down fuel prices, saying he had been made a target of scorn.
"You gentlemen have said the same about me as well, I know," he said in a speech at Universiti Teknologi Petronas on Oct 1.
He also repeated his comparison to fuel prices in Saudi Arabia, saying his critics should take into account the fact that his promise to lower fuel price was made 15 years ago.
"Why could Saudi Arabia sell fuel at 50 sen and ours was so expensive? We, too, should lower it," he said.
However, his explanation was met with more attacks on social media, with clips of a speech at the PKR congress last year making the rounds on several platforms.
In his speech on April 17, 2022, Anwar said that Dr Mahathir Mohamad had failed to fulfil many pledges for reforms during his second term as prime minister under Pakatan Harapan (PH).
He then said that a PH government under his administration would keep its promises.
"Many are being sarcastic, why? 'Today, we win, tomorrow, fuel prices will go down.' Why didn't this happen? We were not in charge. I was not the prime minister, so what could we do?" he was heard saying in the video, where he also said that there was no excuse not to lower the price of cooking oil.
"I'm not smart enough to read the date. Can someone help me?" asked user Ayie Smile, responding to the video on TikTok.
"Was this 2022 BC? Because he said the last time oil prices went down was 2008," Mohd Amir Azahar said.
"Is this Anwar's twin?" asked Amri.
Anwar's own social media post of his explanation likewise triggered negative comments.
"Everyone knows PMX spins. He won't admit to what he said," Mokhzan Ali said on X.
"Fifteen years ago? Then who is speaking in this video last year?" asked Saya Shousuke.
"No need to explain, DS," X user Hafizul Hadzir wrote, referring to Anwar's "Datuk Seri" title. "Your followers will accept whatever you say. Even the DNAA case, they accept without question, what more oil prices going down."
MasIzzatQue meanwhile reminded Anwar of PKR's reasoning in the past that fuel prices should be low as Malaysia is an oil-producing nation.
"So the formula of Malaysia being an oil-producing nation and therefore impossible that prices cannot go down can't be used anymore?"
Others said the matter boiled down to Anwar's promise.
"That's why people are asking for it. It's a long-winding road for you to maintain your position if you keep ignoring what you have promised," said X user MBA Trader.
Max Hafis meanwhile drew a lesson from the episode: "Moral of the story: don't pluck from the sky," he said in a post on X.