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How about calling it ‘Altantuya’?

 | June 14, 2012

Najib's appeal to Facebook users to name two Pandas has drawn cheeky responses, with one suggesting the name of the slain Mongolian national.

UPDATED

KUALA LUMPUR:  No matter how much he tries, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak appears unable to excorcise the spectre of slain Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu.

Even when it came to naming two young Chinese pandas, he was not spared.

Najib had posted an appeal on his Chinese-language Facebook page, asking Malaysians to name the animals but this drew ridicule with many cheeky users seizing the opportunity to take shots at the government.

China would send the two animals to Malaysia for 10 years in Beijing’s latest chapter of “panda diplomacy”.

According to an AFP report, more than 300 people commented by today, with many alluding to government corruption or other sensitive political issues.

One user suggested naming the pandas “Bersih” and “Stop-Lynas”.

Bersih is the name of an NGO coalition that organised a huge April 28 rally for free and fair elections that saw clashes with the police, while the other name refers to a controversial rare earths plant being built in eastern Malaysia by Australian mining firm Lynas Corp.

Another user dealt a lower blow at Najib and suggested “Altantuya”.

A former close associate of the prime minister was acquitted in the murder case, which at the time sparked opposition accusations of a massive cover-up.

Malaysia would sign an agreement tomorrow for the pandas, which Najib had requested in April in a meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao as a sign of strong diplomatic ties between the countries.

Some Facebook users said Malaysia should first ensure protection and welfare of its own endangered animals, such as tigers.

“The government cannot even maintain our [national zoo] and look after the poor animals in there… and now we are talking about taking care of two pandas…

“You gotta be kidding me. Set your priority right,” one posting said.

Malaysian officials pledged recently to better protect zoo animals from abuse and neglect following cases of animals found in poor conditions in zoos.

Also read:

The RM20-million panda puzzle


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