Perception management by the anti-Najib forces

And the new issue to replace 1MDB and the vote of no confidence is that Anwar is being denied medical treatment while PAS is to blame for the failed vote of no confidence. And Malaysians being cows, as Dr Mahathir said, the Pakatuns will swallow this rubbish hook, line and sinker — especially the 74 Members of Parliament who jumped at Dr Mahathir’s command only to find that the promised 112 votes did not materialise after all.


DAP recently sat down with Muhyiddin Yassin and have concluded that Plans A, B, C, D, E, F, etc., are all a no-go. In fact, instead of successfully passing a vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak on Monday, Lim Kit Siang earlier lost his ‘vote of no confidence’ when he was suspended from Parliament for six months. So now there is only one thing left for them to do — perception management and damage control.

Tony Pua has been told to shut up. The more he opens his mouth, the more damage he causes, and the more perception management and damage control they need to do.

Tony’s challenge for a debate with Arul Kanda Kandasamy has backfired badly. Tony can debate Arul Kanda but then he must resign from the PAC to do that and he refuses to resign because, according to him, without him in the PAC the rest of the PAC members are going to get duped. In short, this means the other members of the PAC are not as clever as him and will get easily duped if he were no longer around.

Rafizi Ramli has volunteered to take Tony’s place in the debate but this means Arul Kanda would be barred from testifying at the PAC hearing if he engages in a public debate. And if Arul Kanda can no longer testify at the PAC hearing then the truth regarding 1MDB would never be known.

Rafizi, however, is not really concerned about that and that is why he is still asking for the debate to be held. If Arul Kanda were barred from testifying at the PAC hearing this would work just well for them. Then the PAC would not be able to conclude the hearing and then the 1MDB matter will never be resolved and can be dragged on and on all the way to the next general election.

In other words, they would rather that the 1MDB matter is not resolved by December because if it were then the opposition would be habis modal. There would no longer be any issues to use against Najib and other than the 1MDB matter there would hardly be any ammunition left.

Arul Debate

But then last Saturday a briefing cum questions-and-answers session was held at the PWTC and the 1MDB matter was explained in detail. Tony and Rafizi, however, did not attend that briefing, and neither did any other opposition leader even though it was an open invitation to all.

Initially, on 7th November 2015, they announced they would not be attending the briefing cum questions-and-answers session because the venue was not suitable (not sure why because they did not explain). They would only attend if it were going to be a live TV debate. Then, on 15th November, they contradicted the earlier announcement and said they did not attend because they were not invited.

The truth is they did not want to attend the Saturday event in case Arul Kanda is able to reply to the questions they raise. If they do attend then they must ask the questions they have raised so many times before. And if Arul Kanda replies to their questions then that would be the end of the matter. They cannot keep asking those same questions again and again, like now.

To downplay the fact that they failed to attend the 1MDB briefing cum questions-and-answers session last Saturday, and the failed vote of no confidence on Monday, they are now playing up the issue of Anwar Ibrahim being denied medical treatment or proper medical treatment. And being denied medical treatment or proper medical treatment is a form of torture, they are saying.

This new issue is to distract everyone from the 1MDB debate and vote of no confidence failures. They need everyone to stop asking why Tony, Rafizi, and the other opposition leaders, did not attend Saturday’s event at the PWTC (when they could have ripped Arul Kanda to shreds) and why the ‘vote of no confidence’ on Monday received only 74 votes with 128 in support of Budget 2016 and 20 abstentions.

Anwar’s family has complained to the US and UK governments and has accused the Malaysian government of denying him medical treatment. The US said it is prepared to offer Anwar political asylum so that he can travel to the US for his medical treatment and after that he would be given a lecturer’s position at Georgetown University.

The Malaysian government responded by showing proof that Anwar has been visited by medical specialists no less than 150 times since he has been in jail. Anwar has received more medical treatment than all the thousands of other prisoners combined. In fact, no other prisoner in history has been allowed that much leeway as Anwar has and still is.

The American and British governments were actually quite surprised because what they had been told was the exact opposite. The Malaysian government also told these two governments that they can send their own medical specialists to Malaysia to treat Anwar if they so wish and they can choose any hospital in Malaysia they want to conduct this treatment.

This is to satisfy Anwar’s family that said they do not trust Malaysian doctors although many of these doctors are opposition supporters. If they do not trust Malaysian doctors then Anwar’s family can ask the US and/or UK governments to send doctors from America or England to treat Anwar in any Malaysian hospital of their choice.

The thing is, Anwar was released from jail in 2004 but then in the ten years he was free he never had any medical problems. He did not need any special medical care and spent his time flying all over the world. Only now that he is in prison does he need specialists to visit him at the rate of once every two days.

The truth is this has nothing to do with Anwar’s medical needs or the trust in Malaysian doctors. It is all about raising a new issue which they hope will distract everyone from the question of why Tony, Rafizi or any other opposition leader, did not attend the 1MDB briefing cum questions-and-answers session on Saturday and why they obtained only 74 ‘votes of no confidence’ in Parliament on Monday when there are 88 opposition Members of Parliament.

A more important point is not only regarding the mere 74 votes when there are 88 opposition Members of Parliament but what happened to the 25-30 Barisan Nasional Members of Parliament who are supposed to be opposed to Najib and want him to resign?

Even those Umno and Barisan Nasional leaders who are supposed to be in Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s anti-Najib team and who sat beside him during the press conference of 12th October 2015 either voted against the vote of no confidence or abstained from voting.

12 Oct 2015 PC

Monday can only be described as an epic disaster for the anti-Najib forces in general and Dr Mahathir in particular. The resistance movement has been totally demolished and what was supposed to be the platform for the Umno general assembly in mid-December as the last stand to oust Najib has collapsed.

So now it is no longer about getting Najib to account for 1MDB (because that was done on Saturday) or to oust Najib through a vote of no confidence (because that was tried and failed on Monday). It is now about whom to blame for the failure and about distracting everyone with the new issue of Anwar’s medical treatment.

DAP has started this perception management game by blaming PAS for Monday’s failure. It is because 11 Members of Parliament from PAS did not support the vote of no confidence that the vote failed, said DAP.

But they were short of 38 votes. How can the 11 votes from PAS help oust Najib when they were short of 38 votes? Of course, these are merely details and details are not important to the Pakatuns. It was because of PAS that Najib is still in office although only 11 PAS Members of Parliament did not support the vote whereas they were short of 38 votes.

As Dr Mahathir is so fond of saying, Malaysians are like cows that have a herd mentality. And cows can be led by the nose and cannot think for themselves even when they are being led to the slaughterhouse. So all they need to do is to play the perception game.

And the new issue to replace 1MDB and the vote of no confidence is that Anwar is being denied medical treatment while PAS is to blame for the failed vote of no confidence. And Malaysians being cows, as Dr Mahathir said, the Pakatuns will swallow this rubbish hook, line and sinker — especially the 74 Members of Parliament who jumped at Dr Mahathir’s command only to find that the promised 112 votes did not materialise after all.

Raja Petra Kamaruddin

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