MALAYSIAN POLITICS GETTING HOTTER BY THE SECONDS ! ... Davos Trip and Drawn Battle Lines
A Kadir Jasin
|Can Mohd Najib seek answers in Davos?|
We need urgent answers to the widening effects of falling crude oil prices on our economy, on the national budget, which I am told is being reworked, on the exchange rates of the ringgit, the prices of goods and servives and, not the least, on our sovereign rating.
From the snowy Davos, the PM will fly to London to meet Malaysian students there. This is what I am told various unofficial sources, including a blogger friend who is extremely friendly towards the PM. These days, bloggers can be a very useful source of information.
After the PM’s controversial golfing trip to Hawaii during last month’s banjir besar followed by an “unofficial” travel to Bangkok, the curiosity about his penchant for overseas travel has increased, more so now when the country is facing a slew of problems.
Having heard of the PM’s possible trip to Davos and London plus the fact that bloggers are included in his entourage, I sent the following SMS to two regular contacts in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO):
“Apologies. Need confirmation: 1. PM attending wef, davos.When? 2. PM going to London. When and for what? 3. Some bloggers are travelling with him. 4. Is the PM travelling with tudm vip jet and which type? And 5. A person by the name of Mujibur rahman?? appointed new media adviser to pm. Thank you.”
One of them replied: “When PM leaves for official or working visit, a statement will be issued by wisma putra prior to the visit.” The other did not.
My training as a journalist says I have to compare notes and have as many sources as possible. So I sent the following SMS to a pro-government blogger:
“Hang ok ka? Ada member kata hang pi London dng pm. Enjoy. Tk.” [Are you ok? A friend says you are going to London with the PM. Enjoy. Tq.]
He replied: “Ha ha ha okay saja Dato. Bukan pi dengan PM pun. Tapi ada join program dia kat sana.” [Ha ha ha I am okay. Not going with PM. But joining his programme there.]
I responded: “Ok. Prog apa? Bila. Ni budak2 blogger bagi tau. Depa jaki tak boleh ikut.Tk.” [Ok. What’s the programme? The bloggers told me. They are jealous they couldn’t follow. Tq.]
He replied: “Saya pergi 22-28. Program PM dengan student di sana jika tak silap. PM dari WEF Davos. Orang nak bawa saya ikutlah Dato, bukan saya minta. Blogger mana yang marah tu?” [I am going 22-28 (Jan). PM’s programme with the students there if I am not mistaken. PM from WEF Davos. People want to bring me along I follow Dato, I did not ask. Which bloggers are angry?]
I am quoting these exchanges to illustrate two things. One, the type of response people like me can expect from the PMO and two the growing importance of pro-government bloggers despite being labelled “bangang” (stupid) by the PM.
Attack On Dr M and Daim
In the meantime attacks in the mainstream media on (Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad, (Tun) Daim Zainuddin and other critics of the PM appear to be gaining momentum.
Apart from enlisting Umno people in their efforts to silence the critics, the mainstream Umno-linked newspapers and TV stations continue to quote the opposition parties.
A couple of months ago they started to attack Daim and about a month ago the attacks spread to Dr Mahathir. They were too systematic to be the work of individual reporters and editors chasing after news. They appear to be working in concert and orchestrated by someone outside the media.
Daim said he knew the person and the cyberspace is abazz with talks that a new person outside the media circle has emerged as the new media and propaganda “adviser” to the PM.
A senior mainstream newspaper editor sent me the following SMS: “Assalam Tok Kadir. Siapa dia orang bernama H------ R----- yang dikatakan terlalu rapat dengan PM dan berupaya memberitahu kepala2 media prima dan utusan yang apa perku di spin?” [Assalam Tok Kadir. Who is this person by the name H------ R----- who is said to so close to the PM and is able to tell the heads of Media Prima and Utusan what they should spin?”]
I dare not publish the name of the alleged person and his link to the PM because I have no corroborated information about him. My query on the matter addressed to the two PMO contacts have not been answered.
But I believe I had come across a person by that name many years ago when I was frequenting Raju Restaurant in PJ. I am no longer a regular there. I was “priced-out”.
Daim Hits Out at Umno Media
On his part, Daim had issued a press statement which he addressed to Bernama, the New Straits Times Group and Utusan, the contents of which had since been picked up by several news portals. Let us see if Utusan and NSTP newspapers will publish it.
The statement reads: “I refer to the recent statements by some PKR politicians pressuring MACC to speed up its investigations into my banking business overseas.
“MACC is an independent body that makes its own decision without interference from anybody. I stand ready to support and cooperate with MACC in its investigation.
"Whilst I understand the motivation of these PKR politicians as they know not much other than politics and making baseless allegations, I am quite surprised with the attention given to them by the government-friendly media.
"TV3 which would not give 2 minutes of air time to Pakatan, has aired the PKR press conference no less than 3 times. The NST and Utusan have also carried these news.
"I am aware of who is behind this sudden attention on me. If you don’t like the message, kill the messenger.
"I hope that all these groups will leave the MACC alone to do its work.
The Battle Lines Drawn
In a separate development, the PM met Dr Mahathir the latter’s residence at The Mines in Seri Kembangan, Selangor on last Dec. 13 and they had dinner.
They talked about a number of issues including the 1MDB of which PM is adviser. Sources said PM was shaken by the discussion on the company.
Curiously, attacks on Dr Mahathir by pro-PM bloggers and the Umno-liked mainstream media started soon after that meeting, alleging, among other things, that the former PM was putting pressure on Mohd Najib to revive the crooked bridge project “to satisfy his ego”.
I am not sure if attacks on Dr Mahathir and Daim are the work of this mysterious new adviser to the PM or are concerted efforts by the entire pro-PM propaganda machine to burnish his image by maligning his critics. What I am more certain is the battle lines between the PM and his detractors could have been drawn!