Saturday, August 13, 2011

Once there were two Fs

FBC and Fox. Some people may want us to forget that the FBC Media was a product of the Abdullah Ahmad Badawi era. 
But how can we forget (or forgive) that easily?
In the PR world back then, there were two big Fs: FBC and Fox Communications.
Fox was led by two ex-editors who shared great affinity with the people who set up the Malaysian Insider to prop up a flailing Prime Minister.
Fox and FBC were yin and yang. They shared the same bed. They walked hand in hand in the corridors of power during the Abdullah reign.
Their portfolios were to-die-for. They were the envy of all PR companies.
But when Sime Darby decided to part ways with FBC in Nov 2008, just months after Pak Lah was  replaced by Najib, the good streak was ending. Three months later, Fox had nothing more to do with Sime.
Fox's contracts ended one by one and when there was no more, it called it quits here. 
Now it's FBC's turn. 
Putrajaya did not "ditch FBC Media as image experts after the expose". Their contract ended, full stop. "Finally", some may add.

But read the Insider's article, anyway ...

Putrajaya ditches FBC Media as image experts after exposé

August 12, 2011
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 12 — Putrajaya has now ended its contract with British publicity firm FBC Media after an embarrassing exposé last week revealed Malaysian leaders routinely appeared in paid-for interviews on global television programmes.
The Malaysian Insider understands that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) terminated FBC Media’s contract in the past week, just months after another public relations firm, APCO Worldwide from the United States, met an ignominious end for alleged links to Israel.

File photo of Defterios appearing on a TV programme. — Picture courtesy of
“The contract with FBC Media is over. PMO has enough people to handle publicity locally and abroad,” a source toldThe Malaysian Insider.
FBC Media’s dealings with the Malaysian government came to light after supplementary supply Bills showed vast payments made for a “Global Strategic Communications Campaign”.
The records showed that between 2008 and 2009, RM57.7 million was paid by the Prime Minister’s Office to FBC Media for the campaign.
Despite FBC Media’s contract, veteran newspaper editor Datuk A. Kadir Jasin’s also revealed that Putrajaya has some 11 press aides working for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak against the three who served Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in his 22 years in power.
FBC Media has also been linked to Najib’s predecessor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, who apparently paid US$5 million (RM15 million) for public relations services that included television programmes and professional bloggers to burnish his image before the April 16 state polls.
Global broadcasters have been scrambling to contain potential damage after the allegations of impropriety surfaced following the expose by whistleblower Sarawak Report, which linked the interviews and other programmes produced by FBC Media as having been paid millions of ringgit by the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition to shine its international image.
US-based broadcaster CNN denied last week it was paid to interview Najib during his visit to London last month but questions remain about the role played by its anchor John Defterios after the latter’s FBC Media programme “World Business” was axed early this month by rival network CNBC.
The spotlight is on the relationship between FBC Media — the British publicity firm led by media giant Alan Friedman with Defterios still listed as its group president — and broadcasters like CNBC, CNN and the BBC.
As a result of the allegations, the BBC has also said it will suspend programmes produced by FBC Media and investigate the company.
Influential Washington-based news website said FBC Media is listed in lobbying reports as having paid tens of thousands of dollars to Washington-based lobbying firm APCO in recent years to lobby on behalf of the Malaysian government.
CNN’s denial comes on the heels of rival CNBC’s decision to drop its flagship show “World Business”, which has similarly been alleged to have been paid to feature Najib in its prime-time news slots last month after his administration cracked down on a civil rally pushing for cleaner and more honest elections.
Both interviews were conducted by Defterios which has raised eyebrows over his appearance on the rival channels as well as questions over a conflict of interest to his unclear ties with FBC Media.
Defterios was listed as director in the British firm on the FBC Media website before it was stripped down to a one-page fact sheet yesterday, with all information about its board members removed. The information remains available on the whistleblower Sarawak Report website.
CNN told Politico that Defterios has been a full-time employee since March and had cut all ties with FBC Media at that time, but he remains listed as CNBC’s managing editor for the just-axed “World Business” programme.
In profiles of Defterios available online, he is listed as the group president of FBC Media.
Apart from CNN, FBC Media has also produced editorial content for the UK broadcaster BBC.
The British broadcaster told Politico all independent TV companies are required to sign strict agreements with it to prevent conflicts of interests and that it was not aware of some of the information provided by FBC but will be investigating the claims “as a matter of urgency.”
The Sarawak Report, in a story published in early August, claimed insider sources revealed Najib “suggested” to Taib that he hire FBC Media to bolster his seemingly flagging popularity after the Sarawak chief minister appeared to suffer a publicity crisis due to allegations of extensive corruption.
Both have not denied the report since it was published by the whistleblower website.


  1. Anonymous5:26 pm

    Najib don't need PR, he just needs to do things 'out site settlements"

  2. Anonymous5:30 pm

    Ali rustam will make a good PM

  3. Anonymous5:37 pm

    Parallels are emerging the disappointing Abdullah Ahmad Badawi era and the Najib administration in terms of flip-flops.Najib’s supporters always claimed that he was smarter and more politically savvy than Abdullah so why is he making the same mistakes. The most disconcerting feature of this administration: truth is being sacrificed for political point and survival.
    We could trust Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Dr Ismail, Tun Abdul Razak, Tun Hussain Onn. Sadly that key ingredient which ties the government to the governed is gone.

  4. Anonymous5:40 pm

    Fox - Kalimulah

    Airasia X - Kalimulah

    Tune money - Kalimulah

    ECM Libra - Kalkmulah

    So what have changed Rocky? Different PM, same people control

  5. Anonymous5:42 pm

    Off tpoic but this is to echo Anon 6.25am's sentiments in:

    Well and succintly put, Anon. Alas, we are left with a choice between douchebags and scumbags and that is not a choice really.

    I am voting to not particpate in the next GE and that speaks for a vast majority of my Melayu Bermaruah mates which is quite a substantial number, mind you. I will only move my feet to the polling booth if there is a party fielding candidates who:

    1. reinvigorate and vow to defend the Constitution and the Social Contract. Protect Malay special privileges and position. Protect the sanctity of Islam

    2. Preserve the NEP while eradicating any deviations that may have creeped in.

    3. Strenthen law and order through augmenting the ISA, retooling the PPA and OSA but at the same time loosening the space for non-confrontational and constructive public discourse

    3. Cleanse the system of all the failed leeches that are sponging off it even after numerous fuckups; restructure the GLCs; divesting the system of "hangers-on" biz types

    4. revamp the education sysytem, institutionalise satu sekolah untuk semua, wipe out vernacularism while valoring English as the language of commerce and technolgy etc.

    5. instituionalise serious economic reform in terms of revamping the taxation and incentive structures, legistalting mandatory budget deficit caps or mandatory balanced budgets, empower the Bumiputera entrepreneurial class, break up monopolies and encourage competition, break the Chingkie closed comprador systems especially the middle=men structures

    6. incentivise bumiputera involvement in Islamic finance, halal food manufacturing, agriculture, biotech, halal pharmaceutical and cosmetics etc...........

    The list is exhaustive but a party that pledges to implement it assidously will eventually reap the rewards of a new reinvigorated Malaysia with the Melayu bermaruah calling the shots under the shady ambience of a benevolent and accomodating Ketuanan Melayu. Trsut me when I say the vast majority of Malays are looking for such a party for they are tired of people like Najib, or charlatans like PKR or PAS who have no qualms of mortgaging Malay rights and maruah on their altars of political expediency. And I trawl the ground and grassroots quintiple times mores than I "troll" around here.........

    Warrior 231

  6. Anonymous6:48 pm

    The MI story is utter rubbish. 90% background (cut n paste), 9% twisted facts n 1% Jahabar SADilk.

  7. Anonymous8:49 pm

    Yah, also stand for double FCUKS or FOOKS! Big time!

    What else is new or news?. The so-called mainstream media has long been known to be prostitutes! They screw the real news and themselves. The trashes they print or broadcast are also not worth the paper or binary digits they are published in!

    Pay to be in the news or network? It's the pits. Man, how about paying you to feature them on your blog!

    The world these days is a very strange place. Almost everything is upside down. But i like it. hehe

    - A Malaysian -

  8. Salam Datuk,

    Ah the Malaysian Instigator. Useless reportting. Editorial also tak boleh pakai.

    Thank you

  9. Huh! but the PM's office paid RM57.7 million between 2008 - 2009 to FBC issit?

  10. Anonymous12:12 am

    IRDA/Iskandar Malaysia paid FBC million of taxpayers money for doing rubbish work. Go ask Level 4 boy, Kamal Khalid and his arse-licking friend in IRDA, Nasser Ismail.

  11. Anonymous12:18 am

    Hidop Tan Sri Muhyiddin , Pewira agama . Hidop Tan Sri Muhyiddin , raksasa bangsa. Hidop Tan Sri Muhyiddin , wira nusantara.


  12. Anonymous12:22 am

    Why do we need international PR. Najib fix the economy lah, it's shit. Paham N A J I S

  13. Mustapha Ong5:30 am

    I am pissed off with those who openly condemned our prime minister and threw mud or shit on Najib. What kind of mentality do some of our Malaysians have, one of which is uncultured or civilised?

    In times of our national crisis when things went wrong just like in the March 2008 General Election, Najib should still rely on international media and communication advisers. I doubt that with the present 11 press aides in PMO will be effective to assist the prime minister. Post PRU12 is very important if the BN government under Najib is to survive another political crisis in the coming general election.

    BN should win big and not only with 2/3 majority as predicted in the coming 13th General Election but also to recapture at least Selangor and Kedah. In order to win back, Najib has to proceed with the political transformation in BN in order to get rid of those leaders who had overstayed and identify new leaders acceptable to the people. There should be an effective media and communication system to check and counter the opposition under the fast deteriorating leadership of Anwar Ibrahim.

    Anwar has lost his credibility although the opposition pack is hanging on Anwar because there is no Malay leader in the opposition. The people will not accept a non Malay leader as the prime minister or head of government, which is a factor in the Malaysian political system today. Lim Guan Eng can never dream to be the prime minister and neither is Tok Guru,whose PAS (Islamic party)is only acceptable in the Kelantan.PAS has no hope to lead the Federal government as even their state governance is unstable in this point in time. Lim Guan Eng could be the DPM if DAP's power has the continued support of the Malays and Chinese.

    The people has limited choice but to return the BN government in power. Having said that, we all hope that Malaysia will be democratically governed with a two party system, but this will take a long time to emerge, unless the Malays and the Chinese based political parties play their game well, instead of undercutting each other's throat.

  14. BIGCAT8:23 am

    The first time I met Jahabar was about 10 years ago. He was still with Reuters. U was there Rocky. U told me that he was an exemplary journalist. Hmmm...I don't think u got it right all the time my friend. A good journalist should not spin news items like that. Kalau commentary (opinion piece) tak apa lagi lah.

  15. Anonymous9:01 am

    ha ha ha. no wonder the PR gonna make a fuss about this. they only got kickdefella for PAS, a gay reporter in thailand and a con-artist turn reporter in "where the heck he is" and christian fellowship reporter for buddhist DAP.

  16. Anonymous10:39 am

    The fact remains that the current PM was using the services.

    If the reasoning was - there is a contract and its not possible to retract, lest compensation is paid out and it cannot be afforded. then just look at MAS.

    Md Nor was given a mandate as MD but was recalled.

    Idris Jala had a contract extended but departed to join PEMANDU.

    Tg Azmil had an appointment as MD till Aug 2012, but has been replaced.

    Why did not the Najib regime terminate the contract of these PR firms earlier?

    They had too many skeletons in the kitty about BN?


  17. Anonymous3:57 pm

    Jahabar Sadiq — In the past decade, Malaysia Airlines has gone through three restructurings after Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli’s tenure in the flag carrier. Yet it is still bleeding red ink. Now, Putrajaya wants the GLCs to settle out of court or “off-site” despite winning judgments against the tycoon. Why? Is there more to it than just money? Someone must account for the billions lost because its public funds, not Putrajaya’s.

  18. Anonymous4:21 pm

    The next PRU is not between Najib and Anwar, t's between Najib and the people dissapointed with his flip-flops..

    Hantu Gigi Jarang

  19. "Presently there is only one "F", for this "F" is one that many MUST eat with, digest on, sleep with, act on, dream on, agree on, acquire, improve on......and the list goes on, on, & on .....never ending till heaven long.

    It is not the two "Fs" nor any of the two "Fs" that Rocky Bru said nor is it a vulgar word that many would turn to think, as an easy way out.

    It is one which many of us, as Malaysians, should embrace, hug, hang on dearly, follow closely & look towards that will make all of us human in the eyes of God (whatever term you may entitled to use to relate to your God), lest we will find no solace in our souls when we die.

    For the lack of it, we shall be in deep shit & trouble as it is this magic "F" that opens up the pandora for the many things that we yearn to appreciate as human beings. It is one that makes us human, lest we cannot leave this world satisfied.

    It had been & has to be innate in us for lacking can spell doom to our desire in life, be it we being male or female.

    What else can this other "F" be, Rocky Bru?

  20. Alvin,
    Since you've mentioned F-emale and it's not a F-our letter word, and it can't be F-atwa, F-ame or F-ellatio although these Fs can be crucial to different people ... the only other F I can't thing of is F-reedom.

    Right now, it reminds me of Mother Freedom. Is that a song by the Bread?

  21. Anonymous7:45 am

    The next PRU is not between Najib and Anwar, t's between Najib and the people dissapointed with his flip-flops..

    Hantu Gigi Jarang


    You only hit the nail partially, Hantu Gigi Jarang, for it would also be about the people who validly feel that he has sold out on Malay rights for a few trinkets.

    Warrior 231

  22. Anonymous8:44 am

    The above is one of many instances of how the opposition and anti-Malay, anti-national elements invariably pressure Najib. Whenever, Perkasa or any pro-Malay rights groups rear their heads with criticism of Najib's ostensibly pro-market/pro-transformation policies but in actuality pro-Chingkie mollifying initiatives, toilet rags like the Malaysian Insider get hired guns like the Merdeka Centre ( a pro-opposition weathervane) and unknown academics to spout garbage in order to stultify any reexamination of his policy initiatives. And to lend a seal of approval to this cheapskate pressure tactic, out pops a wormwood like Tony Pua with his oracular observation.

    Discerning observers would have noted the above modus operandi umpteen times and Najib's supine capitulation to such pressure does not bespeak of firm leadership. The NEP has never been a millstone around the economy's neck for if that had been the case then it would be well nigh impossible to account for our meteoric rise to upper income status. Ketuanan Melayu has always been an intrinsic socio-political-cultural facet of Malaysiana since time immemorial. It is NOT an innovation of the 1980s as some would claim. Why even the Starits Chinese parties of Penang in opposing the Federation proposals of 1948 and calling for Penang's secession, cited Ketuanan Melayu as one of their main gripes. That is an historical fact. KM never purports to enslave, it is a socio-political umbrella derived from the refined accomadating culture of the Malays, a live and let live leit motif that is sacrosanct to the Malay weltanschung, a socially ergonomic concept shaped by the civilised mores of budaya and eluted by the teachings of Islam

    The silent majority are never for the dismantling of the NEP or the jettisoning of KM. What we demand is pure and simple: a reconfiguration of the NEP divested of the deviations that has hobbled its effective implementation, crippled its psychosocial efficacy and stained its humanistic soul. We also demand a resurrection of the Social Contract, the dying spirit behind the Constitution for of what use is the foundational construct of this nation if its just a parchment in the eyes of evil. The SC and the Constitution are inseparable entities, entwined by the nature of circumstance, the realities of society and the narrative of history. Those who repudiate the former, by default negate the latter. It would be pointless for us , the Malays/Pribumis to accomadate the Pendatang and his progeny if they can blithely argue that the contracts of their ancestors are nothing but mists in the sun, silently evaporated into non-existence by the reams of time. If that was the case, we could argue likewise and descend into Dante's Inferno to reclaim the sanctity and purity of our beloved TANAH MELAYU.

    Warrior 231

  23. Rocky, Alvin

    Another possible F is the Holy Veggie Fettucinni, made popular by my cousin SumanSumbing here. Word has it that since its broadcast in Suman's site, this most tasty but elusive of Italian Delicacies has enjoyed trillions of google queries and godzillons of web hits.

    Or not.


  24. Anonymous11:08 am

    Dato' Rocky,
    This is not a comment on your posting, but rather a general comment.
    I've been reading your blog for quite a while now. I think your new background colour(light green with black shade in some area) is not user-friendly when your side notes are written in black or blue, especially for a senior citizen like me(who may have to strain my eyes to read your side notes linking to other sites).Your previous background colour was allright. I hope you can do something about it. TQ.

  25. Anonymous11:30 am

    Rocky, lari tajuk kejap: Our guy in Motorcycle Grand Prix's 125cc category got 9th, but no story on it in the local newspapers. Stoopid editors.

    - Azlan.

  26. Rocky Bru

    This "F" word is one everyone should cherish during our life-time; irrespective of color, creed or intellectual level.

    It is neither of the "F"s that you had mentioned & if bear the trouble & conduct a deep search of our own soul, it is within our power to exercise it, it is also within our own innate soul but just that we did not use it though we all know it & it know of us.

    It applies to all, as it is commanded of us to do so in order to propagate life, here & after.

    If, at all, we do not find it within our deep soul, at least we should look around others for a clue; for this "F" is rather elusive at times & fortunately, it is in most times is within us.

    We need this "F" more often than not; failing which we are not doing what we "asked" to do in fulfilling our responsibility.

    Rocky Bru, I hope, you armed with your experience & knowledge, you are definitely smarter than me who is just the humble little 1Malaysian guy who grew up in the kampung & I hope if you ever be able to discover this "F", many of us here will be smiling happy, satisfied in life.

    I rest my case as this "F" will surpass all that is being discussed here; minus all the hypes, accusations, spins, back-stabbing, shoe-polishing, lies, instigations, names-calling, vulgarity, hatred, dissatisfaction, disappointment, ETC

  27. I had such high hopes when Najib replaced Pak Lah as PM. I was one of those who ate the spin that Najib is 100x better than Pak Lah.

    I guess the more things change the more it remains the same. If Najib can't get back the 2/3rd majority in the next PRU then like Pak Lah who lost the 2/3rd majority then he will likely have to go too.

  28. Anonymous2:08 pm

    Najib's Propaganda Machine takes another beating, this time from 'mosquito' site Sarawak Report. Little wonder Taib and the GOM has been so adamant in attacking it.

    Najib like Badawi can't go ahead with his consultant-created reforms. Thats because his umno doesn't want to reform and change. They want to be stuck in an outdated mentality. The problem is not najib, but umno and bn.

  29. Rocky Bru

    Perhaps, we must all appreciate the messages sent across by this video

    & I believe that you will find that "F" I am talking about.

    It should be this "F" word that we should live by in our lives for this "F" word is permitted by & propagated by every religious person.