3:45pm 30/03/2022
Did he or did he not?
By:Mohsin Abdullah

Remember Psy? Yes, the South Korean rapper famous for his “Gangnam Style”.

Some pro-BN people with big money managed to get him to perform live in Penang in 2013. Remember?

It was a free open-air concert. Whether the South Korean knew it or not, it was a BN election campaign. After all, GE13 was around the corner then.

Among those present was Datuk Seri Najib Razak himself, at that time prime minister and chairman of Barisan Nasional.

Najib took the microphone and asked the crowd (huge and predominantly Chinese) whether they were ready for Psy. They answered with a booming “YES”.

And Najib went on to ask if they were ready for BN. In fact, he asked thrice. And each time the crowd answered loud and clear “NO”.

Surely we can recall that, right? If not, go to YouTube. It’s there for all to see.

That roaring “NO” somehow told the story on how the people of Penang, the Chinese in particular, felt about BN then.

Then there was the big dinner in Port Klang. I can’t say for sure if it was held before or after the Penang embarrassment for Najib and BN. But it took place all the same.

Anyway, I was told the dinner was attended by hundreds if not thousands from the Chinese community.

Najib was obviously pleased with the turnout. So pleased was he that after the dinner he called for a meeting at his residence with members of his many thinktanks although it was already late at night, to discuss the “latest development”, so to speak.

One of the members who attended the meeting told me the then PM was “beaming”, smiling broadly telling his team that the Chinese were “back with us”.

Well, the BN won GE13 and remained government at federal level. But the results showed its performance was nothing to be proud of. No two-thirds majority. The Chinese who Najib thought had returned to support BN had not done so.

Fast forward to recent days when he was campaigning for BN earlier this month just days before the Johor state election.

Najib was given rousing welcome in the many places he went. The people in Johor, including the Chinese, seemed excited to meet him, fist bumps and selfies aplenty.

And we know how the state election results went. Was the big BN win because of his campaigning? Was he the pull factor despite the guilty verdict (which he is currently appealing) by the courts for the SRC International charges?

Whatever it was, Najib was clearly “encouraged” by what took place in Johor.

Off he went to Penang a few days ago to speak at an “international business summit”. And he claimed to have seen “Bossku” banners greeting him and a group of his Chinese supporters even turned up at the Penang airport to welcome him.

And during his speech at the “summit”, he spoke on the “many things he did for the good of the Chinese” and how the Chinese “had experienced the economy drying up after GE14” which he lost.

One needs not be a political expert to know that boosted by his Johor experience Najib was now wooing Chinese support. Nothing wrong with that, I would say.

But the thing is, he somehow felt it was right to deny he had back in 2013 (when he thought the Chinese were with him) said “Apa lagi Cina mau?

To many Malaysians, those words implied that the Chinese were greedy and ungrateful for not supporting BN despite being accorded “good treatment, help and assistance” by the coalition which Najib led.

Needless to say, “Apa lagi Cina mau” had hurt the feelings of the Chinese, to say the very least.

So Najib has denied ever saying those words. Strangely. I must agree with DAP’s Lim Lip Eng that Najib’s denial is a decade too late.

Strangely, he had not distanced himself as soon as the report made the front page of Utusan Malaysia.

In fact, as soon as the “Apa lagi cina mau” headline appeared, opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim called Najib as Umno chief to take responsibility because Utusan was an Umno paper and “followed his instruction”.

Anyway, did Najib say “Apa lagi Cina mau?” Hard to tell. If he had said, it must have been at the Umno HQ when the results of GE13 had come in.

As said earlier, BN registered an “unconvincing” performance despite winning GE13.

One of the members called to the meeting told me Najib was “beaming”, smiling broadly telling his team the Chinese were “back with us”.

Could it be those words were uttered (I repeat, if indeed he had said it. I am putting it this way now that he has denied saying it) at the spur of the moment when he was overwhelmed by frustration, anger maybe, considering the dismay BN performance?

And the newspaper which carried the remarks on its headline, as rightly pointed out by Anwar, was Umno-owed. Hence, it was Umno-friendly and Umno mouthpiece.

The paper, I feel, was prompted to ask “Apa lagi Cina mau” probably when Najib attributed the “poor” BN performance to a “Chinese tsunami”.

Yes. “Chinese tsunami”, Najib did say. This cannot be denied!

The “Apa lagi Cina mau” storyline was extensively used by Utusan in commentaries and write-ups in support of those very words.

Strangely, Najib did not reprimand Utusan. Until now we have not heard of Utusan editors taken to task over the years (what more “punished” for anything which could have linked him, president of the party which owned Utusan and the prime minister of Malaysia to the controversial headline).

Would the paper dare to do anything like that in the first place?

Najib met the media on election night. That would mean the TV cameras were there at Umno HQ. Everything he said was carried on national television live or delayed telecast for the many TV bulletins.

To settle this issue once and for all, it would be good to preview the visuals of Najib meeting the media session on election night 5 May 2013 or early morning of 6 May 2013.

Someone needs to dig deep into the archives of RTM and TV3 to retrieve the visuals. National archives even. There lies the truth. What was said and what was not, assuming the “evidence” is still there.

(Mohsin Abdullah is a veteran journalist and now a freelancer who writes about this, that and everything else.)


Mohsin Abdullah
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