Malaysiakini News

Don't complain about pricey durians, jokes new China envoy

Published:  |  Modified:

Dubbed the king of fruits, the durian had become a thorny political issue recently after Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak claimed credit for the export of the durian to China.

This led detractors to accuse him of being responsible for durian prices skyrocketing in Malaysia.

Speaking at a dinner in Kuala Lumpur last night, China's new ambassador to Malaysia, Bai Tian, got those present laughing away when he joked that Malaysians should not complain about the high prices of durian.

The dinner was organised by Malaysian Chinese associations.

Bai said Malaysians should instead look at the issue in a positive light and feel encouraged to increase the cultivation of good quality durian for export to bolster the economy.

According to Oriental Daily News, he said China is looking into expanding its import of Malaysian products such as palm oil, bird nests and frozen durian.

Bai said there are also discussions on the possibility of importing fresh durian from Malaysia, including the famous “Musang King” variant, which is now only available frozen in China.

He added that at present, China imports fresh durian from Thailand.

Last month, Najib shared a durian tale at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) leaders summit in Vietnam, which drew laughter and applause from his audience.

"Durian is our form of caviar. It tastes like heaven, smells like hell," he said.

Najib said durian used to sell for about RM4-RM5 per kg, but has become a big hit with buyers in China, who are now willing to pay more than RM130 per kg.

"China loves durian more than any other country," Najib added.

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