I know those behind media spotlight on me, says Daim


(The Malaysian Insider) – Tun Daim Zainuddin has revealed he knows those behind a sudden spotlight on his business empire as Malaysia’s anti-graft officials investigate the former finance minister’s banking business abroad.

Daim, in a statement today, said he was surprised that Umno-controlled Media Prima Bhd would provide coverage for opposition party PKR.

“While I understand the motivation of these PKR politicians as they know not much other than politics and making baseless allegations, I am quite surprised with the attention given to them by the government-friendly media.

“TV3 which would not give 2 minutes of air time to Pakatan, has aired the PKR press conference no less than 3 times. The NST and Utusan have also carried this news,” he said.

The Umno-controlled Media Prima group runs four free-to-air television stations and newspapers in Bahasa Malaysia and English editions. The group recently laid-off nearly 400 managers and executives in an exercise in light of falling revenue and profit.

The group also controls English language daily New Straits Times. The other Umno-run media firm is Utusan Melayu Bhd.

Tun Daim Zainuddin will cooperate with Malaysian anti-graft officials investigating the former Malaysian finance minister’s banking business abroad, but said pressure groups should not interfere.

In a statement to state news agency Bernama, Daim said he was confident of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) capability to carry out the probe.

“I stand ready to support and co-operate with MACC in its investigation,” he said in the statement.

Daim was quoted by the news report as saying that he had been investigated on the matter twice in 1999, and they found nothing.

Pro-Umno bloggers reported that Daim had been attacked by cybertroopers aligned to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for criticising Putrajaya’s handling of the economy.

Daim, along with former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, have emerged as strong critics of Najib’s administration over his handling of the economy and national politics.

Veteran journalist Datuk A. Kadir Jasin warned a few days ago that the Umno-controlled media group, Media Prima Bhd, should stop sniping at Daim as it could backfire on Najib.

Najib was more vulnerable to personal attacks than Daim and other critics, Kadir, the retired editor of the New Straits Times Press group, said in his blog.

Calls for the anti-graft authorities to investigate Daim, however, have also been made by the opposition, with PKR’s Youth chief Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin in November last year highlighting the lack of police action against the former minister despite the lodging of a police report in 1999. Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim lodged that report 15 years ago, accusing Daim of amassing billions of ringgit in African and Eastern Europe banks through proxies.