May 30, 2015
Najib and Mahathir locked in the Battle of The Social Media
Unlike the previous spats involving Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his rivals, the current war is waged online through blogs and social media.
Mahathir himself reserves his most potent bombshells for his blog postings and later expands on his points when addressing the media or a public function. Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak also ducks, dodges and strikes back through his blog in the form of frequently asked questions (FAQ).
Then, there are the foot soldiers. On Mahathir’s side, there are former newspaper editors A Kadir Jasin, Firdaus Abdullah, Zainuddin Maidin and several others. As for Najib’s garrison, there are the ghostwriters in MyKmu.net, JASA chief Puad Zakarshi and current Sabah state assembly speaker Salleh Keruak.
The war between Mahathir and Najib has been brewing in the quiet for long. There were the occasional snipes, but nothing serious. Then on April 2, Mahathir dropped an atomic bomb via his blog, warning that if Najib remained at the helm, Umno would be defeated come the 14th general election. He also hinted that Najib had a role in the brutal murder of the Mongolian model, Altantuya Shaariibuu (picture above), which was once again denied.
Since then, it has been open season. And the one riddled with most bullet holes is 1MDB, which has come under attack from Mahathir as well as the Opposition. However, Najib has refused to cave in. On the contrary, he has accused the former Prime Minister of peddling lies and twisting facts.
Deeper down the gutter
Sharing his view on the online war, another former editor, Ahiruddin Atan, highlighted images targeting Mahathir that are circulating in the social media. “And we slide down deeper into the gutter by the day,” Ahiruddin lamented.
“You may see these efforts to counter the allegations as a dirty campaign against the old man, but those behind these posters (photo left) think it is only fair to defend Najib against the conspiracy to take him down,” he added on his blog, Rocky’s Bru.
Ahiruddin also noted that Mahathir’s people are not going to stop demonising Najib. “Why, some of them have been preparing for this war for years. The PM’s defenders aren’t going to stop, either. Only Mahathir and Najib can stop this from getting worse But what are the chances of that happening now?” he asked.
Malaysians are also growing weary of the protracted blogfight. There must be a knockout punch soon. But then again, Mahathir had campaigned for more than a year against Najib’s predecessor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. So it might be another long haul match.