Najib should make a ministerial statement when Parliament reconvenes on March 10 on the actual status, job specification and remuneration paid to former APCO Malaysia boss Paul Stadlen to mastermind the Prime Minister’s communications

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should make a ministerial statement when Parliament reconvenes on March 10 on the actual status, job specification and remuneration paid to former APCO Malaysia boss Paul Stadlen to mastermind the Prime Minister’s communications operations.

I have also sent in a specific oral question to the Prime Minister asking him to confirm the veracity of a report in the Sarawak Report website that Paul Stadlen is being paid millions of ringgit to mastermind his communications policy, and whether the Paul Stadlen outfit was responsible of the infamous 109-word three-paragraph statement in the name of the Prime Minister’s Office that was issued of February 10 praising the Federal Court’s decision dismissing Anwar Ibrahim’s appeal in Sodomy II, not only within minutes of the two-hour delivery of the judgment by the Chief Justice, Tun Arifin Zakaria but before the sentence was passed!

Many questions cry out for answer.

Firstly, are there no local public relations and communications experts who could be entrusted with the responsibility of masterminding Najib’s communications policy, especially as it has been reported that Stadlen’s firm was retained by the PMO at a minimum of RM3 million a year and was also commissioned for a 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB)-related project worth another RM1.5 million?

Have we reached a stage where the Prime Minister has lost trust and confidence in Malaysian public relations and communications experts to be his P.R. Guru that he had to depend on foreigners?

Paul Stadlen’s latest masterpiece was supposed to be the 109-word three-paragraph PMO statement before the conclusion of the Federal Court decision on Anwar’s case, but it has proved to be the greatest public relations (PR) disaster in the nation’s history as it has only highlighted the lack of credibility and integrity in the administration of justice, particularly on having true independence of judiciary and just rule of law in Malaysia

The 109-word three-paragraph PMO statement on Feb. 10 said:

“The judges will have reached their verdict only after considering all the evidence in a balanced and objective manner. Malaysia has an independent judiciary, and there have been many rulings against senior government servants.

“The police report against Anwar Ibrahim was brought by a private individual – Anwar’s employee and personal assistant – not by the government. As the victim of a sexual assault, he had every right to have his case heard in court.

“In this case, exhaustive and comprehensive due process has been followed over many years. That process is now complete, and we call on all the
parties involved to respect the legal process and the judgment.”

We need not tarry on the multitude of mistakes, false notions and baseless assumptions about the rule of law and independence of the judiciary in the 109-word three-paragraph statement reducing it to smithereens .

Suffice to say that even the worst enemies of the country could not have conceived of an ultra weapon like the 109-word three-paragraph Prime Minister’s Office statement to discredit the administration of justice, the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law in Malaysia!

The PMO office statement issued before the completion of the “exhaustive and comprehensive due process” in Anwar’s Sodomy II trial is in fact the “smoking gun” of Executive violation of the doctrine of separation of powers and interference with the judicial independence and the rule of law.

A judgment from the highest court of the land must be able to stand or fall on its inherent logic and cogency and superiority in its reasoning and arguments, but when the Executive had to be called in to shore up support for it as calling on Malaysians to “respect the legal process and the judgment”, there is indeed something very rotten with administration of justice in the country!

The PMO communications team, under Paul Stadlen, acted with super-speed to defend the Federal Court’s judgment dismissing Anwar’s appeal, even before the completion of the Federal Court judicial process.

The alacrity of the PMO statement could only mean one thing, that they were privy or at least were n the know that the Federal Court would dismiss Anwar’s appeal and sent him back to jail.

Under such circumstances, how could the Malaysian public and the international community have confidence in a truly independent judiciary and just rule of law and that Anwar had a fair trial in the courts of the country?

Malaysiakin reported today that in contrast to its “lightning quick response” to the Federal Court’s verdict on Anwar’s appeal, the PMO has gone into hiding and refused to respond to press inquiries about the role, job specification and remuneration for Paul Stadlen’s outfit.

Why suddenly so coy?

Is it because the 109-word three-paragraph PMO statement, which was supposed a “masterpiece” of PR relations, had proved to be an unmitigated disaster.

As a result, UMNO had to dredge the bottom of the barrel to sponsor a national road-show featuring the Prosecutor-on-fiat, Tan Sri Mohamad Shafee Abdullah to give him licence to make the wildest of personal attacks on Anwar although the Parliamentary Opposition Leader would not able to respond as he is in jail in Sungei Buloh.

It is sad and shocking that instead of raising the quality and ethics of political debate, UMNO is spearheading the descent to the lowest depths of unethical and most vile personal attacks.

It would appear that unable to destroy Anwar’s character and confidence in the Sodomy II trial, Shafee is seeking to destroy Anwar’s political credibility and morality while Anwar is in jail through a one-sided UMNO national roadshow of the worst personal assassinations never seen in Malaysia – which is the basest and meanest personal political attack in nation’s history.

Najib should put a stop to such Shafee’s excesses or it will finally redound on him.

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