It is not only ironic but simply unbelievable that on the night of KL112, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak could host the Umno general assembly 2012 Media Appreciation Night and speak about the importance of the media to UMNO.
Rational and independent-minded Malaysians, including the four million middle-ground voters who will decide whether it is Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat which will form the federal government in Putrajaya in the 13th general elections, must be asking whether Najib is rooted firmly to the ground in reality or is living in a make-believe world of his own.
What Najib said about the media a few hours after the KL112, which marked an important turning point in a maturing democracy, is simply surreal.
How could Najib with a straight face urge the media to play the role of an intermediary that delivers the feelings and aspirations of the people to the government and which report the grievances and criticisms leveled at the government to enable improvements to be carried out when the Barisan Nasional mainstream media, whether print, radio, television or online, have been most guilty of the very opposite, completely unrepentant in fabricating and purveying lies after lies about the Pakatan Rakyat?
For weeks, the Barisan Nasional mainstream media had told a “Big Lie” about KL112 and they are still purveying the “Big Lie” after KL112, although the “Big Lie” had been completely pulverized and demolished as baseless and untrue!
There can be no doubt that one of the greatest losers of the successful and peaceful holding of KL112 is the Barisan Nasional mainstream media (MSM), which is why Malaysiakini in its roundup “KL112: Winners and losers” listed the mainstream media as one of the three “losers” after the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and UMNO/Barisan Nasional while The Malaysian Insider carried an editorial entitled: “Mainstream media’s epic fail”.
Although Najib deserves plaudit for not allowing the UMNO/BN and police hardliners to sabotage the KL112 and suffer public odium as happened in Bersih 2.0 and Bersih 3.0 rallies, he has not been able to project an image of a strong, serious and effective Prime Minister committed to the various transformation programmes announced in his name – many thanks to a persistently dishonest, unprofessional and lying BN mainstream media!
It is also thanks to a persistently dishonest, unprofessional and lying BN mainstream media that a recent Merdeka Centre opinion poll in the last fortnight of December found that Najib’s popularity rating has dropped to the lowest level for the whole year – 63% in December 2012 as compared to 69% in February 2012 – while only 52 per cent of voters say that the country is heading in the right direction, the lowest since May 2010.
The former Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, had better poll ratings before the March 2008 general elections than Najib on the eve of the 13th general elections but that did not save the Abdullah premiership.
Abdullah’s popularity rating plunged from a high of 91% after the 2004 general election to 61% in December 2007 (which is still higher than Najib’s popularity rating of 52% in December 2012) while 63% of the voters felt that the country was heading in the right direction in December 2007 ( as compared to 52% under Najib in December 2012).
Although Najib’s approval rating has plunged to the lowest for the whole of last year, Merdeka Centre also reported that the level of dissatisfaction has reached the highest level in Najib’s four-year premiership, at 30% as compared to 28% in October 2012 and 16% in May 2009.
Also noteworthy is Merdeka Centre’s finding that while Najib’s approval rating has slid to 63 percent, his administration and Barisan Nasional has trailed further behind at 47 per cent and 45 per cent respectively.
With Najib securing lower ratings on both scores than Abdullah just before the 2008 general elections, whether popularity rating as Prime Minister or voters’ perception whether the country is heading in the right direction, it is no surprise that there are UMNO leaders who are very pessimistic about UMNO/BN prospects in the 13GE , with even the Johore Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ghani Othman publicly predicting that Pakatan Rakyat could win the 13GE with a slim majority of 5% to 10% of the parliamentary seats – i.e. a Pakatan Rakyat majority from 12-22 seats!
If this Ghani scenario comes about, one cause could be the total lack of public trust and credibility of the Barisan Nasional mainstream media, which is a standing proof to all Malaysians, and in particular the four million middle-ground voters, of the irredeemable character of UMNO/BN as totally incapable of reform unless it is despatched to the Opposition benches in Parliament.
The persistently dishonest, unprofessional and lying Barisan Nasional mainstream media may prove to be the final undoing of Najib as Prime Minister and the ousting of UMNO/BN from Putrajaya in the 13GE.
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