(The Malaysian Insider) - Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin admitted today that Barisan Nasional (BN) is faced with a problem of public perception, which he blamed on the opposition’s skilful “spin” on scandals plaguing the country ahead of the looming general election.
The deputy prime minister called on the coalition’s leaders to “be brave” and “take the bull by its horns” by responding to the opposition’s many allegations, instead of treating these passively.
“Do not say you don’t know,” he told the launch of the Federal Territories People’s Progressive Party (PPP) convention at the Putra World Trade Centre here.
“We know that the opposition has been using many tactics and ways to spread allegations. The methods they use, some say [are] extraordinary, and because of that, it has posed to us this problem we face today — the issue of perception.”
“There is a gap between reality and the public’s perception on issues... the issues the opposition has raised, linking them to the government, to our leaders,” he added.
Analysts and critics have said Datuk Seri Najib Razak is bent on ensuring a comprehensive and much-needed victory in the coming 13th general election, but it appears increasingly difficult for the country’s sixth prime minister to match his predecessor, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s performance in the 2004 and 2008 polls.
With Najib’s Chinese and Indian community support on the decline, the prime minister has been viewed as dithering on a date to dissolve Parliament, which must be done by April next year.
The delay is also seen as part of BN’s way to buy time to recover from scandals plaguing some of its senior leaders, including the RM250 million National Feedlot Centre (NFC) controversy linked to Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil’s family.
Shahrizat was recently cleared by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) of any wrongdoing in the scandal, which led Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders to accuse the national graftbusters of failing to conduct a thorough investigation.
“What causes the people to be unsure over whether these allegations are true or false is the fact that the opposition is skilful at spinning; repeatedly, they would spin.
“And when they use social media tools, there are those who believe in this slander,” Muhyiddin said.