More than 1,000 people reportedly converged at Econsave hypermarket in Pontian, Johor, following rumours that Tunku Ismail Ibrahim would again foot the bill on groceries.
Social media posts showed that customers had already filled their shopping trolleys and queued up at the cashier counters since 10.30am.
Speaking to the Malay Mail, Econsave operations manager Mas Imran Adam refuted the rumour as “fake news”.
“We believe there was a voice note that was passed around yesterday alleging that TMJ would be present at Econsave Pontian at 12pm today to sponsor groceries to the public. But we have checked with the police and they confirmed it was fake,” he said.
“Despite the police arriving there this morning to help disperse the crowd, some were still hopeful, stating that TMJ would arrive at 12.30pm, but that too was untrue.
“We have made several announcements to deny the news but some people were adamant that TMJ will come,” he said.
Mas Imran said the hypermart would now have to take up to two days to clear and put all the items taken by customers back on the shelves.
Yesterday, hundreds of shoppers rushed to Aeon Mall supermarket in Tebrau City after word spread like wildfire that Tunku Ismail, popularly known as TMJ, was paying for groceries amounting to about RM1 million.
The Johor crown prince and his wife Che’ Puan Khaleeda Bustamam were shopping in the mall when he decided to treat “his subjects” to essential groceries.
It was learnt that the allocation was about RM3,000 per person and the “shopping spree” started at 7pm as Tunku Ismail announced it through a loud hailer surrounded by shoppers.
The hour-long spree saw hundreds of shoppers rushing and loading their trolleys with groceries.
Most of them were seen taking up to three trolleys each. The mall had to increase their security as people thronged the place.
At about 8pm, the mall had to bring down its shutters as more people started to arrive.
Among the top items taken by the people were rice, cooking oil, fresh fruits and vegetables, flour, tea and other basic household items.
“I’m no politician. I do not need votes. But I genuinely love my people. Always with you Bangsa Johor. I’m on Johor’s side,” Tunku Ismail said in a Facebook post accompanied by pictures of him with the crowd.
The shock move came after the crown prince received public backlash over a post on Saturday night where he appeared to support ruling coalition Barisan Nasional.
He later denied having any political bias and had called for respect when it comes to differences.
Meanwhile, Johor police said investigations had been launched after several reports were lodged against comments towards Tunku Ismail, following his remarks on the general election.
This morning, Aeon Mall supermarket was temporarily closed, purportedly to clean the mess caused by shoppers who were left out.
Photos of “carnage” featuring trolleys laden with groceries left abandoned behind the shutters and items spilt on the floor were posted on social media.
In the afternoon, the Japanese retail giant announced on its Facebook page that the supermarket was open for business as usual.