I say “aye” to Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister, Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan’s new appointment as Barisan Nasional strategic communications director as he has made more than half-dozen strategic errors in six days – a most admirable rate of one strategic mistake a day.
It will not be easy to find such a bull in a China shop on both sides of the political divide, and it’s a real boon that he has becoming BN strategic communications director.
Just to enumerate half-dozen strategic errors chalked up by the newly-minted BN strategic communications director in his six days in office:
1. To regard former Sarawak journalist Lester Melanyi as a “god-send” not only to end Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s intractable woes from the long-standing 1MBD scandal but an excellent occasion for him to “debut” as Najib’s new right-hand man replacing Jarjis Jamaluddin and Lim Kok Wing. Rahman broke the first rule in failing to check on Lester’s antecedents. Within 48 hours, he acknowledged Lester’s dubious character, which was why he could pen the infamous description “it takes a scum to know another scum”, defaming in the process not only Sarawak Report’s Clare Brown but also the Sarawak leaders of Barisan Nasional and even the Prime Minister himself.
2. To accept Lester’s video as gospel truth – or to use Rahman’s own words, “solid evidence of ‘a mission to criminalise Najib and 1MDB” – when other more discerning UMNO/BN leaders have refused to fall prey to Lester’s ramblings and hallucinations. Last Wednesday, his first-day debut as BN strategic communications director, Rahman made big play of Clare’s alleged incriminating email to Lester confessing to forgery of 1MDB emails and documents but this was only “a one-day wonder” as Rahman is too ashamed to talk about it now after the issue had been debunked by Clare.
3. Lester told Rahman that he had worked actively with Sarawak Report’s Clare Rewcastle-Brown to falsify documents for use on the website, but Rahman never asked for examples of such tampered documents – which is a reflection on Rahman’s gullibility and total absence “strategic” sense.
4. Rahman accepted without question Lester’s claim that only 10 per cent of the 1MDB documents on Sarawak Report are genuine while the remaining 90 per cent are all “created by Malaysian people, the opposition people”. Rahman clearly did not realise the vast implications of such a statement as to ask why it had not been possible to expose the lies and falsehoods of the various 1MDB allegations for the past five years if 90% of them are baseless? A “strategic” failure indeed.
5. Blocking of Sarawak Report website by MCMC, which has helped even those not sure about the 1MDB allegations to be convinced that something is very wrong about the whole 1MDB scandal, and in particular the Prime Minister’s role in the various allegations by Sarawak Report, Wall Street Journal, the Australian Age, the New York Times, the London Sunday Times, etc. In fact, I cannot think of a greater “strategic” error than this violation of the 17-year Malaysian Bill of Guarantee to the world of “No Internet Censorship”, especially when the blockage could be so easily circumvented on the Internet.
6. Seeking to “elevate” criticisms and allegations of the 1MDB scandal as attempt to “criminalise the Prime Minister”, “topple the Prime Minister” and “an act of national sabotage”. It is a pity that UMNO leaders have not listened to the advice by former Deputy Prime Minister, Tun Musa Hitam, who said in an interview The Malaysian Insider on July 11 that Najib “must respond decisively to serious allegations made against him and his administration over various issues, including 1MDB fiasco, instead of accusing detractors of seeking to topple his government”. As Musa noted, “toppling leaders and bringing down governments were part and parcel of politics”. I have had great differences with Mahathir and still do, but the Najib camp are doing neither the country nor themselves any service by accusing Mahathir or anyone who demand accountability for the 1MDB scandal and other issues as traitors and disloyal elements. This is indeed a major strategic error.
I will pause here about Rahman’s bounty of “strategic” errors as BN strategic communications director even before his first week is completed.
In the war of perception, Rahman is creating a hot-house atmosphere as if any meeting with the Swiss citizen and former PetroSaudi International (PSI) IT director, Xavier Andre Justo, immediately makes one a criminal and even a traitor.
I have never heard of Justo until the New Straits Times scoop of June 24 and I do not know who have met Justo, but I see Rahman continuing to make one strategic error after another.
Rahman is expecting me to bail him out of the deep hole he has dug himself. There is no reason why I should throw Rahman a safety net for his numerous strategic errors.
If occasion arises, I will continue to write more about Rahman’s other strategic faults.