KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 — PKR MPs want Barisan Nasional to cancel its existing contract with APCO following claims made by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim that the public relations company had clear links with former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
Anwar had claimed last week that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s “1 Malaysia” slogan was a mere rehashing of Israel’s “1 Israel” campaign back in 1999.
“If Umno BN does not cancel APCO’s contract, it will give the implication that Israeli policy will become the basis of our country’s communications.”
“I challenge the PM that if strict action is not taken, the people will say that you are in cohorts with Israeli leaders,” said PKR Youth Exco member Yusmadi Yusoff, who was flanked by PKR MPs Sivarasa Rasiah, Datuk Johari Abdul and Amran Abu Ghani.
On March 18 ,Amran who is the Tanah Merah MP had asked the prime minister during Question Time in Parliament to clarify whether APCO Worldwide which was engaged to launch the 1 Malaysia concept was also giving its services to “Nigeria and Kazakhstan’s life president, all of whom are dictators.”
Minister in the Prime Minister’s department Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz, in a written reply to Amran, stated that “the government did not engage foreign or local communications companies to promote 1Malaysia specifically.”
“If it’s not specific then what? If not specifically means APCO also involved,” said Yusmadi.
The Balik Pulau MP read out the rest of Nazri’s reply, which also stated that “APCO was appointed to implement communications as a whole”.
Yusmadi then asked the reporters what has been the Najib administration’s primary public relations slogan since Najib became PM.
“Isn’t it 1 Malaysia? It’s difficult for the government to say it’s not 1 Malaysia. We have 1 JPJ, 1 klinik.. If they say it’s as a whole in general, it’s more dangerous because we are concerned that APCO is tied in with the Israeli government.”
He then attacked Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan’s threat earlier this morning to suggest that Anwar be referred to the Parliamentary Rights and Privileges committee over his claims.
“Kota Belud cannot say government clearly denied APCO’s links with Israel”. Here it states that the role is wider, as a whole.”
“The government also said “apart from Malaysia, APCO also gives its services to other countries... that’s the company’s internal affairs”. This means the government is also not sure (what APCO’s role is)” he added.
The Balik Pulau MP also urged Najib to take swift measures to remedy the situation immediately, or else Malaysia’s image as a model Islamic nation would be destroyed.
Meanwhile Sivarasa reminded the press that PKR’s stand did not mean that it was being racist and hostile towards Jews in general.
“PKR is just concerned with our country having ties with organisations that are linked to repressive governments,” he said.
Yusmadi also reminded the government to not turn its back on its long public stand on Israel, where Malaysia has maintained that it would not have anything to do with the country.
“The burden of proof is not on the Opposition Leader but on the government to explain that the communications company engaged does not expose the country to these elements... this is a big issue and we won’t hesitate to bring the issue to the rakyat,” he said.
PKR as well as its PR counterparts will be embarking on vigorous campaigns to inform people in their constituencies the real issue regarding Apco.