Barisan Nasional (BN) was forced to undergo damage control after the embarrassing revelation yesterday that a statement by its chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was almost an exact copy of another statement issued by his Pakatan Harapan (PH) counterpart Anwar Ibrahim.
Yesterday, the coalition announced that the statement signed by Zahid had been released without going through its Supreme Council, adding that it had suspended its chief media officer pending an internal investigation.
BN executive secretary Mohd Sahfri Ab Aziz said the statement was not approved by the secretariat.
He said following the decision of an “internal investigation committee”, its “chief media officer” had been slapped with a one-month suspension.
But a quick check by MalaysiaNow has revealed that the post does not exist.
“It is just a cover-up by BN after Zahid bungled putting up the carbon copy statement,” a source in Umno told MalaysiaNow.
Earlier, when pressed to name the person who was suspended, BN officials were tightlipped, saying the identity was confidential.
MalaysiaNow later found that the closest position to that of a chief media officer in BN is a “media secretary”.
“It was a damage control move, especially as social media was abuzz about the ‘copy-paste’ statement,” the source further said.
Zahid’s statement, which urged BN MPs to demand that Dewan Rakyat convene during the virus emergency, angered MCA and MIC, the two other partners in BN besides Umno, the party Zahid leads.
Leaders from the two parties yesterday distanced themselves from Zahid’s statement, saying the contents did not reflect what was discussed during a BN Supreme Council meeting on Thursday night.
The statement was released around the same time as another statement by PH, signed by Anwar, was distributed online.
The two statements were almost identical, with passages written in the same tone and others corresponding word for word.
They further proved the coming together of Zahid and Anwar in their efforts to topple Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
In October, MalaysiaNow revealed the contents of a letter sent by Zahid and former prime minister Najib Razak to the Agong backing Anwar’s bid for the top post.