"Mahathir's Not My Friend" Zam says no conspiracy against Najib
Jan 23: The Mole, the news portal that I advice, has the story H E R E.
In an interview with The Mole after announcing his decision to stop discussing local politics on his blog, Zam blames Najib Razak's "media troopers and media advisers" for the Prime Minister's worsening ties with Dr Mahathir and Daim.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q: You have been blogging on politics since 2012 and had your followers. Why did you decide to stop when people are actively discussing political issues and turning to blogs?
A: I don’t think I can continue to present a clear picture.. I feel there is always an end in politics. And, I have been receiving hints and signals that are quite disturbing, so I decided it was better for me to quit. I felt that they were quite threatening. I just want to have a peaceful life.
Q: Who is threatening you? And what kind of intimidation did you get?
A: Hints here and there. I don’t like being labelled as anyone’s ally. I wish to be free because I belong to no one. There were allegations that I was involved in a conspiracy just because I had breakfast with a few people.
Q: There is a photo circulating in social media of you with people seen as anti-Najib. Rumours are that the meeting was to plan on a plot to topple Najib. Don’t you think that has put you in the spotlight?
A: The morning that (former finance minister) Tun Daim Zainuddin invited me for breakfast I didn’t know that other bloggers would be there. Daim is someone I respect, someone I never hate, even though he was involved in removing me from Utusan. I accepted it and I have no hard feelings because I’m a professional.
But as I said, I thought only Daim, (blogger) Syed Akbar Ali, (former NST editor-in-chief) Datuk Abdul Kadir Jasin and I would be having breakfast. If I knew everybody else was there, I would not have attended.
Q: What was discussed?
A: It was just a catch-up session between old friends. We talked about the economy, national issues and other petty stuff. But never did we discuss or plan anything to bring down Najib.
Q: Some people think you are sulking and afraid of the intimidation. How do you really feel?
A: I am not sulking or scared. There are people who told me to keep on fighting. I’ve been through so much.... yes these things are exciting but in the end, you will be alone.
Q: So no one can convince you to write on politics again?
A: Maybe... this is a silent protest. But now I know who my friends are and I really appreciate them.
Q: Is it true there is a conspiracy between (former prime minister) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Daim to bring down Najib?
A: No, they are just worried about Najib's leadership. There are a lot of things that Najib has done that are damaging. For example, he made a unilateral decision to abolish the Internal Security Act. He almost abolished the Sedition Act too but decided to keep it after some intervention.
Another example is how could you (Najib) let a man whom you despise, discredit, (whose political career) you want to kill, and you want to put in jail, but you brought him back on national TV just to strengthen your integrity? So now (opposition leader Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim suddenly has credibility? Maybe next time Anwar can also campaign for BN in the election.......
Q: Do you think this is the work of the prime minister, as alleged?
A: It is his media troopers, his media advisors. And it does not matter if the PM agrees or disagrees because it has caused a large damage to BN. The people cannot separate the power that controls TV3, NST, Utusan, and we cannot say that Najib is not involved. He (Najib) doesn’t have the sensitivity. He should put a stop to this.
Q: What do you think of the coverage given by the Media Prima Group to the opposition to discredit Daim?
A: It is distasteful and ugly.
Q: Personally, do you think Daim is a corrupt?
A: In politics, no one is clean.
Q: Do you agree with Kadir’s criticisms of Najib?
A: I agree when he said Najib’s media team is not effective. For example, when (former South African president) Nelson Mandela died, Najib could not attend his funeral because he was away in Japan. But his media team did not immediately produce any reason to his absence until a few days later. Only Mahathir went. It was offensive to the Africans because we were close to Mandela.
Also, during the elections we could see people holding placards saying “I love PM”. That is just not acceptable. And the worst is the picture in NST (on Wednesday) showing non-Malaysians deeply watching Najib’s announcement on the revised budget. What do these people know about the economy? They don’t even understand proper Malay or English.
Najib also was pictured taking a ride on the LRT last Friday but that was cheap publicity. It looked staged.
Q: What do you think of Najib's leadership?
A: Weak. I’m not saying that I don’t support him but after the ISA was abolished, I felt disappointed. A lot of people disagree with his decisions. He also likes to let issues die down instead of rectifying them.
Q: What are your thoughts on blogs and social media, as well as local news portals?
A: What’s bugging me is that they have discarded the 5Ws and 1H of journalism.
Q: What would you do if you are the information and communications minister?
A: I am like (former Singapore prime minister) Lee Kuan Yew. I believe in controlling. If Singapore can control the media, why can’t we? These so-called news portals like Malaysiakini and Malaysian Insider have gone overboard and depend on rumours instead of facts. Journalists are supposed to find the right information but now that we have allowed these portals to exist, it is hard to turn back. The damage has been done.
Q: Now that you have stopped writing politics, what is your next move?
A: I have written a book “Saya Bukan Menteri”(I am not a minister) and waiting for them to be circulated in a university. I’m also writing a book called “Mahathir Bukan Kawan Saya” (Mahathir is not my friend) which will be ready in March. I will continue blogging on national issues and history, and perhaps a little bit on international politics. I also spend five hours a day in my café. I will autograph my books people buy next door.