Free Web Counter Hits since 1 Dec 09

Friday, April 2, 2010

Apco: Najib, Umno defy Muslim sensitivities

Wong Choon Mei  

 KUALA LUMPUR, April 2: Pakatan Rakyat leaders warn the decision to take disciplinary action against Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim will only deepen the suspicion already felt by the Muslim world towards Prime Minister Najib Razak and his Umno party for hiring an international communications firm with alleged Zionist links to advise on top strategic matters.

As expected, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Aziz confirmed on Thursday the federal government would be tabling a motion to refer Anwar to the rights and privileges committee for misleading Parliament with inaccurate information about APCO.

“Nazri may think this sort of politics is very macho but we urge Umno to reflect on Malaysia’s responsibility as a Muslim nation and respect the feelings of the Organization of Islamic Conference states,” PAS vice president Mahfuz Omar told Harakahdaily.

May be suspended for three months or even a year
Indeed, Najib and his minders appear determined to bulldoze through disciplinary action against Anwar, whose growing political clout has become a serious threat to their hold on power.

Made up mostly of lawmakers from the ruling Umno-BN, the parliamentary rights committee is not expected to give Anwar a fair hearing and he may end up being suspended from anywhere between three months to a year from Parliament.

“Why defend APCO? The Prime Minister must explain all the issues that have been raised earlier in Parliament. Why keep attacking me?” Anwar chided.

"Yes, this latest parliamentary move against Anwar, just like his sodomy trial, will only increase the bad impression lawmakers in other countries have of Malaysia and its lack of respect for rule of law and fair play," Mahfuz said.

Denial in Malaysia, admission in Singapore

Last week, the reform icon had thrown a cat among the pigeons by revealing to Parliament APCO’s alleged links to top Israeli secret service officers and intelligence agencies.

He warned of the threat to national security and pointed out that Najib’s prized 1Malaysia slogan could have been based on the One Israel campaign launched by former premier Ehud Barak in 1999.

Anwar’s accusations and the documentary evidence he tendered to the Speaker to back up his claims sparked unprecedented fury in Najib’s camp. Not only did the revelations erode already slim public confidence in Najib's 1Malaysia, it also embarrassed APCO.

So far, APCO has issued two denials in Malaysia, although in Singapore its deputy managing director B Jay Cooper acknowledged to the Straits Times newspaper that APCO did work for the Israeli government in the early 1990s.

“One Israel was launched in 1999 and 1Malaysia in 2009. Therefore, it is not impossible that 1Malaysia could have been based on One Israel where completely or partially, directly or indirectly,” Mahfuz said.

“APCO and Najib will surely deny because they have to. But it only adds to the disgust Malaysians, and Muslims in particular, feel for them over the entire episode.”

Looking to Najib to help 

Speculation is also intensifying that APCO was now advising Najib to act against Anwar for its own interests.

Not only are calls growing for Malaysia to terminate its dealings with the firm, Pakatan Youth leaders have demonstrated and even lodged a police report over the matter, urging swift action to protect national security.

“APCO may be pressuring Najib and the Malaysian government because of the way the entire episode has blown up in their faces. The earlier overreaction from the Umno MPs to Anwar’s speech has put the firm in a tough spot,” PKR strategic director Tian Chua told Harakahdaily.

"On one hand they owes us an explanation, yet given the nature of their work, it may require them to reveal secrets that they and Najib may prefer to keep. APCO may now need Najib and his administration to absolve them.”

(Wong Choon Mei is the Consultant Editor for Harakahdaily - English Edition)


Post a Comment

KOTA RAJA DAILY (EN). Design by Wpthemedesigner. Converted To Blogger Template By Anshul Tested by Blogger Templates.