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Malaysian shoppers rush to supermarkets on fake news the Johor Crown Prince would foot the bill

Some 1,000 shoppers showed up and abandoned full trolleys when they realised the news was fake

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 April, 2018, 5:00pm
UPDATED : Friday, 13 April, 2018, 5:05pm

Some 1,000 shoppers at two supermarkets in Malaysia were left disappointed when news that The Crown Prince of Johor was going to pay for their groceries turned out to be fake.

Shelves, baskets, shopping trolleys and even food was damaged as shoppers rushed for the items, believing that Tunku (Prince) Ismail Sultan Ibrahim was going to foot the bill, just like the day before in the suburb of Tebrau.

Many trolleys, piled high with goods, were abandoned once the shoppers realised that he was not coming.

The Econsave Pontian hypermarket and the AEON Big Kluang supermarket were jammed with shoppers after fake messages circulated on social media that each person would receive RM200 (US$52) from Tunku Ismail to spend.

Storekeeper Salwa Hassim, 28, said she and her colleagues had been at Econsave since 11am yesterday.

“My boss even closed his store to be here. I think that whoever started this has troubled a lot of people,” she said.

It is learnt that Tunku Ismail is currently in Spain.

Econsave southern region general manager Mas Imran Adam said some 1,000 people from Pekan Nenas, Penerok, Ramba and Benut gathered at its Pontian outlet from 9am to wait for Tunku Ismail.

Econsave Pontian branch manager Fazinda Halina Kamal Fazuli said it would be lodging a police report as soon as it sorts out the mess.

“We have yet to determine our losses but we found that some of our trolleys are badly damaged,” she said.

At the AEON Tebrau supermarket, where pandemonium broke out on Wednesday after Tunku Ismail offered to foot grocery bills of every shopper up to RM3,000 (US$774), was operational from 3pm.

“Several items are out of stock and we had to call in some of our staff from other outlets to help clean up,” a spokesman said.

Tunku Ismail was said to have eventually spent over RM1 million (US$257,885) on the groceries.

The mall had to beef up security as people made a beeline for the place before it finally brought down its shutters at 8pm.

Among the items taken by the people were rice, cooking oil, fresh fruit and vegetables, flour, tea and other basic household items.

Batu Pahat district officer Mohd Haffiz Ahmad said it was a known fact that every two to three weeks, Tunku Ismail would contribute RM3,000 each to the three poorest of families in every district regardless of race or religion.

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