A PM for all Malaysians or A PM by APCO?

by Eyes Wide Open

Since the Government of Malaysia retained the global PR powerhouse APCO (for a reputed contract of RM20million of taxpayer’s money), Najib’s 1Malaysia seems to be getting a shot in the arm.

There are no shortages of events lately for the PM & DPM to pour their slogans on their (alleged) crowds-for-hire, eagerly gobbled up and regurgitated by the politically obedient MSM.

Coming from a A&P background myself, one can easily identify an A&P campaign in progress. And this is defintely IT!

The tell tale sign would be that there is a definite shift in communication strategy.

1Malaysia? CHECK!

From being an umbrella for a confusing hodge-podge of “anything also can” ideologies, the 1Malaysia slogan now has some semblance of a coherent ideology.

Then their are the tactical PR campaigns. If strategy is the grand roadmap to a destination, tactics would be the individual series of events along that road. The tell tale sign of a tactical campaign in progress would be a sudden spike in events that forward the intended message. Now we know that the MSM is beholden to the BN parties to forward whatever agenda they have. So this spike would have to be very significant to get noticed among all the MSM political spinning.

1Malaysia? CHECK! I can even guess roughly when the latest tactical campaign started.

It could be during the MCA settlement (objective: to demonstrate that Najib has real leadership within the BN and by extension the country – although this sort of backfired as he was seen as UMNO meddling in the affairs of MCA, a PR mistake that only foreigners like APCO unfamiliar with Malaysian politics would make).

Or most likely, the campaign was launched sometime late last week when Datuk Mohamad Aziz (Sri Gading-BN) called on Ong Tee Keat and Koh Tsu Koon to quit in Parliament. Now, in our Malaysian experience, never has lone BN politicians attacked each other based on “principles”. They only turn on each other when they feel their interests are threatened by their fellow BN pols, like when Tan Lian Hoe was mercilessly attacked for suggesting that since Malays were technically immigrants to Tanah Melayu, all Malaysians should be given equal citizenship.

(Interestingly, the one who humiliated her in Parliament was also a BN Sri Gading MP, Mohamad Aziz. Could it be that APCO was ignorant that Sri Gading had changed representatives and thought the same brute could be used to attack OTK & KTK? We can only guess…)

Well, why is this sudden attack by an UMNO MP significant. Because it gives Najib an opportunity to say this a couple of days later during the Gerakan national delegates conference:


Najib: Disregard racist remarks from certain leaders

(The Star, 2 Nov 09) KUALA LUMPUR: Racist comments from “one or two Umno leaders” should be ignored because the majority of members in the party are not racists, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The Umno president stressed that the party’s policies had always been fair, inclusive, democratic and open.

“Umno is not a racist party. From the beginning, we wanted a multiracial society. Don’t listen to one or two leaders talk; that’s different. Any party has leaders like them. But look at our policies from Day One,” he said at the opening of the Gerakan national delegates conference yesterday.


Najib also took the opportunity to proclaim that he was the “Prime Minister of all Malaysians”. So touching. However, Najib makes no mention of disciplinary action for serious breach of solidarity – how come? Perhaps because you don’t whack the assassin you hired? We can only guess…

But this outburst also gave our DPM a fitting framework to proclaim the following:


DPM: None will be left out of mainstream development

(The Star, 2 Nov 09) PORT DICKSON: The Government has reiterated its commitment to all Malaysians that no one will be left out of mainstream development.

“That is what we have been promoting under the 1Malaysia concept. We will continue to ensure that everyone gets treated justly and his or her rights will always be protected as provided for under the Constitution and the principles of the Rukunegara,” said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.


Then today the news broke that the PAS-leaning former Perlis mufti was mysteriously arrested by JAIS, giving the impression of Government persecution of dissenters. But some questions linger: Why did it take a Selangor religious agency to arrest him? What about the Perlis agency – why no action for all the time he was mufti there, if indeed he committed an actionable offence? Could it be a two-pronged strategy to discredit the Selangor govt and give our PM the wonderful opportunity to demonstrate his magnanimity? We can only guess. What is sure is that for the first time, Najib had a lightning-quick, rock-solid and confident populist response for a controversial issue:


PM questions motive for Dr Mohd Asri’s arrest

(The Star, 2 Nov 09) KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has questioned the motive behind the arrest of former Perlis Mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin.

Dr Mohd Asri, who was arrested on Sunday night, was released on a police bond Monday without being charged.

Najib said that Dr Mohd Asri was a truthful speaker whose talks were always backed by proof and clear dalil (quaranic and Hadith verses).

“I don’t know what is the motive of the arrest. It was done by the state religious agency. It has nothing to do with the Federal Government,” he told reporters on Monday after launching a Pasar Tani convention.


However, in issues that really matter: the billion ringgit PKFZ mega scandal, the TBH possible homicide and the Perak political debacle that he himself created, Najib is absolutely silent.

This is perhaps the most credible evidence that an aggressive PR campaign is on the move, funded by taxpayers money to keep certain parties and leaders in power.

Because real leaders will tackle and at least attempt to resolve the real pressing issues.

A PR campaign will merely create issues that those leaders can easily resolve and respond to because the objective is not to solve problems but to look good.

Amidst all this saccharine sweet hullabaloo, perhaps the most telling statement from Najib (given his penchant for Freudian slips) was during the Gerakan conference, when he declared:

“I am the chairman of BN and I should make the decision for the benefit of BN.”

Eh? Not make decisions for the benefit of all the people of Malaysia meh, Mr “PM for all Malaysians”?

2 Responses to “A PM for all Malaysians or A PM by APCO?”
  1. shar101 says:

    Let’s not forget about the Sime Darby Chronicles during early 2009 when NTR was still DPM.

    SD’s attempt to acquire IJN was subsequently ‘rejected’ by an announcement by NTR.

    Similarly, the Labu airport proposal.

    Both incidences were ‘manufactured’ towards solidifying NTR’s ascension to high office with AAB getting the short end of some sinister moves.

    Of course, local assets were used at that time coz APCO was not around.

    But then again, regaining an old job in a media agency may just be ‘a breather before the next chase’. Go figure. 🙂

  2. boh kee eng says:

    In a bank robbery the robbers do not leave their names and NRIC.They do not sign an payment vouchers.Thus we may not know their identities.
    When the government is robbed of billions of dollars their should be names,NRIC and signed paper trails.All the government departments are glove in hand with the thieves.Otherwise they won’t release billions of ringgit without reason.Ah.White Hair has given his blessings to these thieves..
    Sunday November 29, 2009
    Billions siphoned – Sarawak govt steps in

    MIRI: The Sarawak Cabinet has ordered an internal investigation into claims made by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) that up to 60% of government allocations — running into billions of ringgit — meant for vital infrastructure projects between 2002 and 2008 have been misappropriated.

    MACC investigations showed that only 40% of the money set aside by the Government were spent on the projects. The remaining 60% were said to have been “leaked elsewhere.”

    Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam said yesterday the state government’s internal audit department would carry out a detailed probe into the allegations.

    “The state government is investigating. We also want the MACC to give us a full and detailed briefing on these claims. We (state government) view these claims very seriously and if such abuse of government funds had taken place, we must find out who was responsible and take appropriate action against them.

    “This is government money that comes from taxpayers. If indeed funds from the Government meant for projects for the rakyat and the poor had been misappropriated, the state government wants action taken,” he said yesterday.

    He was commenting on a statement by MACC deputy commissioner Datuk Zakaria Jaffar that the MACC had uncovered cases in Sarawak where up to 60% of government allocations had been “diverted’’ away from the projects.

    Zakaria had said this in Kuching during an anti-corruption seminar a few days ago. He claimed that the misappropriation of funds took place between 2002 and last year, adding that MACC investigations showed that only 40% of the money allocated by the Government were spent on the projects.

    He, however, did not disclose what the projects were or which part of Sarawak the projects were being carried out.

    He noted that the projects involved infrastructure constructions for roads, housing schemes and mosques, among other things.

    Zakaria said MACC investigations found that many of these projects were poorly-implemented while some had not even begun despite the fact that the Government had already channelled the money for them.

    “The MACC found that there were fake claims made by officials and contractors involved in these projects,’’ Zakaria said.

    Dr Chan, who is State Industrial Development Minister and State Minister for Agriculture Modernisation, said yesterday that the state government had always been very strict with how allocations from the Federal Government are used.

    He said the Sarawak Cabinet had always been transparent with taxpayers’ money.

    “I am happy that the MACC had exposed the issue. If they are doing their job properly, we are thankful because this is for the good of the rakyat,’’ he said.

    State Housing Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Openg wants the MACC to give him more details about the housing projects said to be affected by the misappropriation of government funds.

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