Media is giving endless coverage to Tun Dr Mahathir for leading the press conference of dissidents last Friday. Naturally, all comments from various personalities are competing for space. It can only be expected of pro-opposition media to blackout certain government officials.
Nevertheless, Astro Awani's website reported the statement by Foreign Minister, Dato Anifah Aman [read here] but the posting cannot be found in their main page. The limited access was expected since Astro belongs to a close crony of Tun M, Ananda Krishnan.
However, it is unthinkable for MSM to blackout or gave half-hearted coverage for Anifah. It seemed MSM could not fathom the significance of Anifah.
He was one of the first leader who came forward strongly to defend Dato Najib in an early salvo by Tun M via an interview with New York Times in June 2015 last year. He wrote to NYT immediately when he read the news while in New York. [Read past posting here].
At least Singapore's media are cleverer to understand [read ST here and CNA here] the importance of Anifah to Najib's political fate. It is likely to gain attention of other foreign media.
Someone influential and strong behind the local mainstream could be sulking from a cabinet discussion last Wednesday. Surely he is not dumb enough to think Sabah's voice and vote is not important to Najib, BN and the nation anymore.
Channel NewsAsia on Anifah below:
Dr Mahathir movement will be bad for country: Malaysia Foreign Affairs Minister----------------------
In a statement, Minister of Foreign Affairs Anifah Aman said he was both surprised and disappointed with Dr Mahathir's move to oust Prime Minister Najib.
By Sumisha Naidu, Malaysia Correspondent, Channel NewsAsia
Posted 05 Mar 2016 18:38 Updated 05 Mar 2016 23:56
Malaysia's Foreign Minister Anifah Aman speaks to the media after the foreign ministers' meeting at the 26th ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 26, 2015. REUTERS/Olivia Harris/Files
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Anifah Aman has warned that former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's move to oust Prime Minister Najib Razak could cause instability and take a toll on the country's foreign investment.
Mr Anifah said in a statement on Saturday (Mar 5) that he was both surprised and disappointed with Dr Mahathir.
"What concerns me right now is that with the actions of Dr Mahathir, who is a lauded statesman and a beloved international icon, the country could become unstable, driving away foreign investors from this nation at the same time," he said.
"As a former Prime Minister, he should be more understanding of what democracy is, which cannot be achieved the way Dr Mahathir is going about it now."
Mr Anifah said he felt the "Save Malaysia" movement had taken its own agenda, with no benefit for any political party or its citizens, adding that the implications of the move would be felt soon.
"Let us never forget, the international community is watching us," he said. "This instability will bring bad implications for us in the days to come."
A total 58 people had signed a declaration on Friday (Mar 4) calling for a national movement to remove Mr Najib through legal and non-violent means. They also pledged to take action against those who associated with or covered up for the prime minister.
This movement was led by Dr Mahathir, who has spearheaded calls to remove Mr Najib over allegations of corruption and misrule.
"We call upon all Malaysians, irrespective of race, religion, political situation, creed or parties, young and old, to join us in saving Malaysia from the government headed by Najib Razak," read a joint statement endorsed by heavyweights from the ruling party, opposition, and top civil society groups.
Dr Mahathir said the assembled leaders, despite their differences, shared "one goal".
"We must rid ourselves of Najib as prime minister," he said.
An online petition garnering support for the movement has also been launched, getting more than 10,000 signatories in less than 24 hours.
The Malaysian government released a statement later in the day saying that the move by Dr Mahathir demonstrated the depth of his "desperation".
"Today, Mahathir and his former enemies have demonstrated the depth of their political opportunism and desperation," said the statement.
It also added that was already "an existing mechanism to change the Government and Prime Minister. It's called a general election. And it is the only mechanism that is lawful, democratic and fulfills the people's will."
"In 2013, the Malaysian people expressed their will and elected the current government, lead by PM Najib. If Mahathir wants to change the Government, he must follow democratic process and await the next election, in line with Malaysia's laws and Federal Constitution," the statement said.
Mr Najib, 62, has been under fire for a year over allegations that billions of dollars were stolen from a state investment fund he founded, and his own admitted acceptance of a US$681 million overseas "donation".
Amid cascading calls to step down, he has counterattacked by purging his ruling United Malays National Party (UMNO) of critics.
The government also has arrested whistle-blowers and shut down media outlets that have reported on the allegations, raising growing concern over the future of rights and freedom of expression in Malaysia.
The joint statement by the anti-Najib alliance lamented the "deteriorating political, economic and social situation in the country", repeating allegations that perhaps billion of dollars were skimmed from the state investment fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), in a bewildering array of complex overseas transactions.
1MDB is an investment company established in 2009 by Mr Najib to fund development projects in Malaysia. It has denied any wrongdoing. The new movement also highlighted the US$681 million deposited into Mr Najib's personal bank accounts in 2013.
Mr Najib at first hotly denied taking the money, but the government has since maintained that it was a personal donation from the Saudi royal family. This claim has been ridiculed in Malaysia as an implausible cover story.
The Saudis have yet to officially confirm the claim. A report this week by the Wall Street Journal said it had found fresh clues that the donation originated from 1MDB funds, adding that it found no evidence that the money came from the Saudis.
Malaysia has been dominated since independence by UMNO, which has overseen decades of impressive growth and living standards.
But voters have increasingly rejected the party over its divisive racial politics, persistent allegations of rights abuses, recurring corruption scandals and accusations that the electoral system favours UMNO.
The Star and Berita Minggu basically blacked out Anifah. Sunday Times gave a decent page 3 coverage but none online. Mingguan Malaysia a bit of coverage.
It is an open secret that NST, Utusan and TV3 had to take instruction from this administration's version of Dato Kalimullah Hassan, the elusive Dato Habibur Rahman but quite a familiar figure to us [read here, here, and here among others].
Kali is a media man but not Habibur. Neither does he come with any background in media or communication or advertising.
Some say he is a black-op man. When did this former nestle Manager asked to leave for improper behaviour ever worked in Special Branch or "Research Department" or Millitary Intelligence? Supposed he was, how "intelligent" it is to use JMM or some other openly known and easy to figure out character as public face?
The man is said to be a close friend and confidante of Najib. He was entrusted to help him face the barrage of attack from dissidents, within and without of UMNO. Said to be given ample resources and determine who gets coverage in the MSM.
The main complain heard among pro-government activists involved at various level in fighting the campaign against Najib by dissidents is that Habibur is saving Najib at the expense of UMNO and government.
After observing for quite a while and seeing what is happening to Najib, he should raise his hands and admit that his business guised as so-called black op and spinning failed miserably. There is even Minister following his story line. It only seemed to be working to a limited group of old school UMNO folks.
Generally, it has backfired on government and Najib. His brutal method may be useful at winning seats within UMNO in losing constituency like Petaling Jaya Utara but it is not winning the public confidence and worsen Najib's image.
He lost the basic that government has to be factual. The fact will speak for itself, so no necessity to spin. When government spin, it will look like covering up and public is wiser to notice such "cheap trick", especially when it is hardly sophisticated and quite noticeable.
So much as chief defender of Najib. Some say the team is just reaping the benefit of the communication budget.
And, that Mat Salleh is a problem too.
Who does he think he is to boss around Ministers and trying to pick fight with everybody including friendly Saudi Arabia.
He claimed to be professional serving the boss but he should know his station in life. He could neither speak nor understand Malay. Apart from his encounter with loose Malaysian women at wild parties, he hardly understand the Malaysian psyche.
There is nothing Mubin Shephard about Paul Stradlen to think he could be of extra service to Malaysia. This Mat Salleh should understand who is servant and who is master.
Stradlen could be better than some SPM dropout reporter who thinks too much of himself. But he should know that he is no more Tuan in this country. Obey the brown gentleman!