PM’s RM50,000 media binge: What goes around comes around

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak paid RM50,000 (US$15,000) to a Washington-based political consultant in April this year in an attempt to get an opinion-editorial article written by him published in one of the major newspapers in the United States. And should the article eventually appear in print, the prime minister will have to fork out an additional RM50,000 as a ‘success fee’ to the consultant.

Malaysia Chronicle

If ever the meaning of the phrase what goes around comes around needs explaining, then look no further than the latest news that Prime Minister Najib Razak splurged RM50,000 to secure a piece of flattering U.S. media coverage.

Just weeks ago, his Umno team was busily firing salvo after salvo at Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, accusing him of paying CNN to appear on its prestigious Connect the World program.

The mainstream media front-paged headlines such as Anwar didakwa bayar CNN; Tidak hairan jika Anwar bayar temubual CNN; Not surprising if Anwar pays for CNN interview: Shafie; CNN, bad journalism, and Anwar’s apology tour, and many more.

Days later, when CNN issued a denial, saying it was disturbing that no effort was made to contact the network and “independently verify these groundless allegations before they were subsequently reported as fact”, few bothered to really retract.

On Thursday, Malaysians could only shake their heads in disgust when Malaysiakini broke news that Najib had paid US$15,000 to a Washington-based political consultant in April in a bid to get an opinion-editorial article published in one of the major U.S. newspapers.

Many questioned whether Najib had billed the ‘expenditure’ to taxpayers. They also wanted to know why there was need for such an expense, especially since he has already spent RM77 million on retaining controversial public relations firm APCO.

So far, there has been no official response from Najib or his team or APCO. But Anwar had this to say.

“Audacity to allege I paid CNN? Ha Ha”,” he tweeted.

It must have felt sweet.

READ MORE HERE: Najib splurged RM50,000 to get flattering U.S. media coverage…