Monday, June 30, 2008

The re-branding of Malaysia....Liwat-gate To The Fore

I wrote about International Conference on Meeting of Minds: Developing the Malaysia Master Brand, here.
It was officiated by Najib who said in his opening speech: “To effectively position Malaysia in this globalised arena, we must be characterised by a unified core of competence and unique selling proposition that fits all levels of economy and society.”
Yesterday, along the way to and from work, the highlights of sodomy report againts Anwar were all over the air. Most radio channels that I tuned to had mentioned about this breaking news and later on the updates.

The repeats of "Malaysia Opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim bla bla bla" were indeed irritating to the ears when summer is already here reaching 50 degree celcius temperature and lot of Arab tourists flocking our shores for vacation.

Yes, any news is good news in marketing especially to promote new brands to the world. However, in this current situation, I was too embarrassed even driving alone with thousands other drivers rushing to reach their destinations.

In the office, some colleagues sought my opinion on this issue. Some expatriate friends called to know what was going on. I was again, dumbfounded while trying to analyse those reports as well as entries from other blogs and news sites.

My first reaction was, well, not again. Not again, not this kind of publicity and news splashing all over the world. This is not a laughing matter or mattress that can potray justifiably our civilisation.

One guy hangs Anwar's photo up in his room and he is not even a Malaysian or Muslim. Of course he never believes this accusation after 1998 fiasco that rocked the nation. He just asked, who was that moron how much was he getting paid to be sodomised?

One prominent businessman (not Malaysian) talked on the phone for more than one hour to let me know how stupid and low this damning charge could be to the nation. He was furious to hear the news and could not believe that the same strategy is now being used when the world has changed so much since ten years ago.

"Do these stupid perpetrators know what they are doing?"

I assume within my limited knowledge in politics, the stakes are already high for most politicians for their own survivals. Therefore, whatever price to pay by the nation is nothing compared to their own survivals. Life is marvellous in corridors of power. At this stake, the nation images and foreigners' esp investors' perceptions are not important at all.

The real victim is the people as this is a knee-jerk diversion from the real issues on the ground. Whoever behind this scam has been successful for now to make majority forget about petrol hike, inflation, security matters, altantuya murder, corruptions, wastage and other flip-flop decisons.

It could be another blessing as well and we see the next actions by those implicated and involved on both sides.

By the way, is this 'Sodomy' the master branding that Najib had in mind during the conference?

I would like to share this article from Malaysiakini.

Liwat-gate: Who's behind this?
Ong Kian Ming & Oon Yeoh Jun 30, 08 11:29am
In a previous podcast, we've said that it was unlikely that the authorities would sit idly by and let PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim scheme his way into forming the next government.

We speculated that the government might possibly declare an emergency or call for a fresh election. Recently, there has been intense speculation that Umno has been trying to entice PAS to cooperate with it on the basis of Malay unity. And there is always fear that violence might break out if Anwar tries to take over the government. But never in our wildest imagination did we envision that someone would recycle that old allegation of sodomy.

Reports surfaced over the weekend that a personal aide of Anwar had made a police report alleging that the PKR leader had sodomized him in a condo in Kuala Lumpur. This was followed by an immediate press conference where Anwar denied the accusation. To add drama to the whole situation, he later took refuge at the Turkish Embassy because of fear for his personal safety.

The notion that a 61-year old with a bad back can forcibly sodomise a strapping 23-year old is laughable. This is simply not the kind of thing that anyone, not even Anwar's harshest critic, is going to believe. Instead, people are going to conclude that it's a desperate, politically-motivated conspiracy.

That this desperate move will backfire is already a foregone conclusion. The big question is who is behind this latest move to try to impugn Anwar's character with a tactic dating back to 1998?

We had a look at all the messages and phone calls we received over the weekend from various people to try to identify some trends.

One thing that most people concur is that Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is not behind it. He had the same 'deer caught in the headlights' reaction when asked about the latest developments, just like when Sapp and Yong Teck Lee announced that they no longer had confidence in him.

Furthermore, nothing in his style or demeanor gives us any indication that he has the kind of mean streak that would allow him to agree to this kind of ruthless and dirty tactic. He is no Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

One could not discount, however, the possibility that someone close to Abdullah may have been behind this, in a misguided attempt to help him. But this seems unlikely as any sensible politician would foresee the negative reaction and the public sympathy that would emerge from the repeat of the sodomy allegation.

The issue of who benefits and who loses from all this will be dealt with in tomorrow's podcast but clearly one of the big losers from this is Abdullah. Political pundits, observers and insiders might immediately conclude that he has nothing to do with it but the mass public will naturally conclude it's an attempt by the government to smear Anwar. And who is the head of the government?

Two camps

So, the natural question is who would have the motive to instigate something like this, knowing full well that such a move would hurt Abdullah? Two camps come to mind.

The first is the natural and obvious one. Who was the one responsible for branding Anwar a sodomite way back in 1998? It's not inconceivable that Mahathir, who still publicly states that he believes that Anwar is a sodomite, somehow had a hand in all this or at the very least encouraged it.

Perhaps he thought this is one way to kill two birds with one stone – discredit Anwar by taint of allegation and hurt Abdullah at the same time.

Of course, any serious political watcher would know that such a move would only serve to generate public sympathy for Anwar but when you are blinded by hatred for your enemies, sometimes you do desperate things.

The second person who would benefit from this would be Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak. To be fair, nothing in Najib's character or demeanor suggests that he has the kind of Machiavellian streak that Mahathir possess in copious quantities.

Perhaps someone in his camp, angry at the notion that perhaps Abdullah or his son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin, is holding some incriminating documents on the Altantuya case – as alleged by Raja Petra Kamarudin – dreamt up this strategy to undermine Abdullah and give Najib a boost.

If this was the case, the person responsible certainly did not realise that there exists a photo of the alleged victim with the DPM's aide outside the Najib’s office – a photo that has already been widely circulated on the Internet!

While Abdullah may not have had anything to do with this, it is well within his power – and not to mention, politically advantageous – for him to nip this whole issue in the bud. Kill off the story before it becomes the kind of fiasco that it threatens to be.

Just as Mahathir had used the full force of the state machinery to play up the story, Abdullah could use that same machinery to make it go away. But knowing Abdullah, he would probably stand aside and 'let the police continue their investigation', to the detriment of himself and ultimately his government.


Mr. Smith said...

UMNO in on self destruct mode. It is unable to distinguish between right and wrong.
This is a desperate strategy that will boomerang on itself.

pakpayne said...

salute!!! for a well expressed disgust shared by millions of malaysians, home and abroad.


Maggie said...

The whole situation is really embarassing for our country but worse still is that UMNO is taking the rakyat as fools by recycling this sodomy charge. What is becoming of our country, our leaders who have no morals at all. It is time, we rakyat all unite and get rid of this corrupted and evil govt once and for all. No one should destroy another human being for selfish gains.

megataf said...

Precisely. Now ,who actually benefits from all this fiasco ?
If nobody ...not even the PM and DPM believes that it actually took place! 99 % of the population will think that it is absurd, lets run a poll and who is going to gain from all this?
So far nobody is losing but someone is gaining big time....and YOU know who cos by nature/default nobody will like it when someone is being framed.Well just a thought.

choccake said...

You seem to be saying everything that was on my mind.

It comes back to the age old question....who benefits?

Born2Reign said...

UMNO is grasping at straws.

Correction. UMNO is grasping at thin air.

Desperate men, desperate measures.

Zawi said...

The PM is losing his grip on things. Now he is at a loss on what with all the top leaders having to fight in whatever way they can to save their own skin.
Well said Fudzail.

kevino gohzalez said...

i've a question here,why cant it be anwar himself who plotted all these to gain boost his political influence cos hes in d spotlight rite now and getting the sympathies of the public?

Everyone's perception is on d fact that the government is wrong and anwar is innocent.

Try to think what anwar might gain from this incident

flyer168 said...

Dear Fudzail,

Very well written on the "Hot Topic" when we are promoting "Visit Malaysia" in the UAE !

If PM, DPM, BN, UMNOputra, Fat Mama & their Goons (paid agents !) proceed & CONTINUE with this madness......

This will be the “MOTHER” of BN & UMNOputra’s FOLLY !!!

Fat Mama & incumbent PM in waiting finally felt the "earthquake" & the “Floor” under them “Shaking” with RPK's SD etc, so this is the typical “Defensive” reaction mode....get their goons to do the needful...with the "Fuel hike" issue, the "Ketetuanan" issue, maybe also influenced the Pas youth leader to make the statement to introduce the Hudud in all the 5 states, the BN women MPs comments, etc !

With still no effect & still in DENIAL, they have to attack RPK, DSAI & hoping to create “CHAOS” resulting in the introduction of the NOC for the Fat Mama & incumbent PM in waiting to “WALK-IN” through “Default”….the perfect “TRAP PLAN”.... We must be very careful !

Let us all work hand-in-hand to UNITE as MALAYSIANS to save our nation, its multi ethnic cultures/religion & its assets for every downtrodden MALAYSIAN citizen forthwith !

May the blessings of God protect the rayaat of Malaysia always in their pursuit of JUSTICE to this great nation, its assets & its Downtrodden rayaat.

Yes, let us all reposition ourselves & family….fasten our seatbelts tight, stay calm, don’t panic……just sit & watch them BN Goons in Auto-pilot “Self Destruct” mode PATH !

Give them enough rope to hang themselves at every turn towards their DEMISE soon....God willing !

archie said...

Interesting question choccake....who benefits?
It is very clear that the person who benefits from all this is DSAI....getting sympathy and publicity all around the world.
In politics anything is possible.
I was born in the era before merdeka....had seen the ugly situation of 1969 when people took to the streets.
Hence, no matter who u strongly believe is the concorter/maker of this story, don't ever resort to taking it to thr streets, for it will always end ugly and innocent people get hurt.