Does PN need RM85.5m to demonise the DAP? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, November 09, 2020
Malaysiakini : “It proves Jasa is effective in countering DAP’s claims and an
effective machinery in disseminating information of the government of
the day.” - Umno supreme council member Puad Zarkashi (July 2020)
| I have no idea why the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government needs to
inject RM85 million (and change) into what sounds to me like a slush
fund, to “disseminate information” to the rakyat. To be honest,
propaganda in this country, more often than not, is not focused on
policy, but rather the twin obsessions of the Malay establishment that
is race and religion.
I always had a problem with the Special
Affairs Department (Jasa). My problem was that it was so ineffective,
that even when it was funded by Umno/BN it was flushing money down the
toilet. Jasa obviously did nothing for former prime minister Najib Abdul
Razak's regime and when it was revived earlier this year, it did
nothing for the PN regime.
mainstream Malay politics is defined by the demonisation of the DAP
(which Malay power structures view as a proxy for the Chinese
community), you really do not need a propaganda arm. Propaganda is used
in a hidden manner, not when the demonisation is in plain sight. This is
why this sounds more like a slush fund than any real mechanism of the
This suspicion is made more concrete when Bersatu supreme
council member Wan Saiful Wan Jan said, "The rest is for procuring the
necessary technology", which is ludicrous because, as has been
demonstrated by successful propagandists the world over, all you really
need is a laptop and an internet connection and you could influence
elections. Wan Saiful casually brushes aside the designation of
funds, but can you really trust a political operative who was part of a
low-tech political coup that subverted the democratic will of the
I have not heard anything from preacher Zakir Naik of
late, and one wonders if he is going to be a consultant with this
outfit? This would make sense in a weird way because what Zakir excels
in is sowing mistrust in diverse communities all under the guise of
“inspiringly” preaching Islam.
Former youth and sports minister
Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman believes that what we have to look forward
to is a rain of cybertroopers. However, seeing how ineffective they
were before, it remains to be seen if Jasa will really spread PN's
messages, or is it just another slush fund for political operatives to
fund their illegitimate affairs?
Of course, spending RM85 million
to spread the word, when you have the entire mainstream media at your
disposal, is pretty redundant. The rakyat is wondering how anti-DAP
propaganda is going to benefit their lives and make life a little easier
for those living on the margins in this pandemic. More importantly,
could that RM85 million be used for something more tangible?
fact, some DAP political operatives have no problem putting their feet
in their mouths. This aids the far-right in its efforts to demonise the
DAP. As what I've pointed out before, propaganda organs of the state
turn the words of online DAP supporters back on them. My rule of thumb
is, don't make it easier for propagandists by doing their work for them.
this should not detract from the reality that the DAP, the only secular
and multi-racial alternative, is in the crosshairs of the far-right in a
way which it was not before the historic May 9th win. Umno's Puad
Zarkashi was transparent in his view that Jasa is needed to further
The reason why the establishment gets so
riled up about DAP is that sometimes the words and actions of the party
resonate with Malay voters. Not many, but enough to cause instability.
This is why Umno shuns working with DAP in a bipartisan way. Their
propaganda diminishes when ordinary folk realise that DAP is not some
sort of monster which would take away their special rights.
anything, the attacks against DAP have become cruder, wallowing in the
kind of easy racism and bigotry that should invite some sort of
institutional response, but so far has been met by shrugs from the
mainstream power brokers in this country.
Just look at what Umno’s Ahmad Maslan said about Muafakat National -
"Kita tidak mahu DAP memerintah semula. Kekuatan DAP ini ialah kepada
perpecahan Melayu. DAP tidak ada sebarang kekuatan jika Melayu berpadu
dan Melayu ingin bersatu dalam MN."
want DAP to rule again. DAP's strength is in the disunity of the Malays.
DAP has no strength if Malays unite and Malays must unite under MN.)
Syed Saddiq believes there would be more cybertroopers, I think this
would also mean more restrictions on free speech. As it is, folks are
worried about making comments that would be deemed by the state as
worthy of sanctions. I have no doubt in the coming days we will witness
more people attempting to curtail discourse, all under the guise of
protecting racial and religious sensitivities by hectoring online news
portals to censor comments.
The propaganda coming out of PN has
been an attempt to follow the Trumpian model, which consists of
gaslighting and deflection. It really says something about the
priorities of this government, when it threw RM85 million plus at a
propaganda arm which was ineffective in defining the discourse around
the Najib regime. Now, of course, the current prime minister is
attempting to revive Jasa and to assuage the anxieties of certain folks
who believed that the gravy train was slowing down.
RM85 million is a steep price to pay when you are a morally and intellectually bankrupt government.