After being the target of brickbats from the Internet community, popular isotonic drink 100Plus scrambled to clarify that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's image on its can was not aimed at promoting the leader.
Many netizens saw this unusual clarification as a damage control move to escape a boycott by Najib's critics as the country's political competition gets stiffer with the looming general election.
The clarification was published on Wednesday on the Facebook webpage of Malaysia 100Plus.
"Hi everyone. We'd like to clarify that the pictures of our Prime Minister, Dato' Sri Najib Razak appearing on our can is a sticker that was printed for him when he visited our booth at the Hari Belia event in Putrajaya recently.
"Besides our PM, specialised and individualised stickers were printed for all who visited our booth. We'd like to thank all Malaysians for your continuous support," read the statement.
The statement was responding to an earlier image widely circulated over the Internet, showing Najib's picture on a can of the isotonic drink.
An image showing stickers of other people printed on 100Plus cans was attached below the clarification.
However, the clarification does not seemed to pacify the netizens as most of the comments on the clarification were hostile.
"Too late, boycott u all already", "sorry, boycott already..because of the (that..... sticker)", "love 100 plus so much.......but I WILL BOYCOTT 100PLUS now....", and "I've loved 100 plus lifelong. Until that (.....) sticker was there. Some things you can't UN-see" are some of the comments calling for a boycott.
Some chose to express their view in milder form, "hi, gentle reminder, do be very careful with the selection of icon on your product....a wrongful step taken might cause you nightmare...;-)".
In the same comment thread, 100Plus yesterday added that the issue has been "misconstrued and miscommunicated".
"We would like to invite everyone to view the facts and appreciate all your understanding on the matter. We believe that the issue has been misconstrued and miscommunicated on many fronts but we trust that you, our fans have the right to the facts of the matter and we appreciate all your support now and moving forward. Thank you," it said.
http://media.zenfs.com/en-MY/News/Malaysiakini/88a1d740900753ce6730e5a58dd40e57.jpg" alt="Najib image adds no plus points to 100Plus">