Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Explain why govt extended Apco's contract, Najib told

Tue, 06 Jul 2010 15:45


By Syed Jaymal Zahiid

KUALA LUMPUR: PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution today dared Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to reveal the details of the government's decision to extend, by another year, the contract of a contentious public relations company, Apco Worldwide.

Describing the extension as surprising, in light of the uproar following Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s explosive disclosure of Apco’s Jewish links, Saifuddin said Najib must reveal the rationale behind the extension.

“This is important, especially since the nation’s information and security are under threat,” he said..

Citing a recent online report quoting government sources, Saifuddin said the article revealed that the extension of the contract was inked a few weeks ago.

The report also noted that the renewed confidential contract was worth less than the RM77 million paid out previously to Apco for its services. The report noted that this time round, more local consultants had been hired to boost the nation's domestic and international image.

"I dare Najib to disclose the information and facts on the contract renewal.

“I know it’s his (Najib’s) prerogative whether or not to reveal the contract’s worth and Apco’s job specifications and description under the new deal, but the government owes the people an explanation.

“The government must reveal the success of Apco's performance under the previous contract and how its service was in any way beneficial to the voters," said Saifuddin.

Apco the chink in Najib's armour

Apco was first thrust into the limelight in April when Anwar revealed details of the federal government’s appointment of the Israeli-linked company.

As a result of the disclosure, the Barisan Nasional government was compelled to reveal that it had paid Apco RM77 million for a year’s service.

Apco’s appointment was campaign fodder for Pakatan Rakyat and Anwar, whose character the BN has incessantly tried to discredit through escalated attacks on his close ties with US-Jewish leaders, especially former World Bank leader Paul Wolfowitz.

Anwar, however, turned the tables on BN by linking Najib’s administration to Zionism -- an extremely sensitive issue to the Malaysian Muslim majority. He accused Apco of being closely linked to Zionist leaders.

Anwar also went so far as to say that Apco was behind former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak's 1Israel campaign, which incidentally was similar to Najib’s 1Malaysia campaign.

The campaign in Israel had allegedly been put in place for the Jewish state’s general elections in the 1990s.

But Najib has repeatedly dismissed the allegations.

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