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Veteran journalist tells of rumblings from the 'top', 'headache' at Putrajaya

Zaini Hassan says government collapses have become a common occurrence in the country.

Staff Writers
2 minute read
The Putra Pedrana building in Putrajaya which houses the Prime Minister's Office. Photo: Bernama
The Putra Pedrana building in Putrajaya which houses the Prime Minister's Office. Photo: Bernama

A former senior journalist who left Utusan Malaysia after criticising the now defunct paper's support for Umno has questioned the recent "resignation" of a media officer in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), saying it came in the wake of dissatisfaction over the administration led by Anwar Ibrahim.

Zaini Hassan, who was Utusan Group's assistant editor-in-chief before the Umno-owned daily ceased publication in 2019, cast doubts on reports that Wan Nurzila Wan Abd Rahman, a strategic communications director at the PMO, had given a 24-hour notice to leave her position.

He said Nurzila had told him of her frustration due to "the many lies" that she had to face.

"I understand. There has been a lot of confusion in the PMX (Anwar) team," Zaini wrote on Bebasnews, a news portal which he set up in 2018.

"The media team faced difficulty due to the communications team led by a former UKM professor," he added, believed to be a reference to the Community Communications Department (J-KOM), the propaganda unit in the Prime Minister's Department headed by former lecturer Mohammad Agus Yusoff.

Zaini said he had been made to understand that Nurzila came under pressure from Anwar's cybertroopers, who were not convinced that she was loyal to Pakatan Harapan.

Yesterday, The Star quoted a source in the PMO as saying that Nurzila's resignation was linked to friction with J-KOM over the campaign to promote "Malaysia Madani", the phrase used by Anwar for his coalition government.

Zaini said he had heard rumblings from many individuals at the "top", quoting a "prominent" individual who told him that Anwar "was more talk than work".

"This prominent figure whom I met further said, 'His tenure as PMX won't be long'," wrote Zaini, using the popular nickname for Anwar as the 10th prime minister.

"'Let's wait,' he said," Zaini said, adding: "Is it true that the security force is also having a headache over him?"

Zaini said Anwar's communications team had been forced to fight off intense online mocking of his past speeches, including his infamous pledge to bring down fuel prices a day after becoming prime minister.

"Those words have become a common joke, so much so that there are emojis of his face with the words 'esok minyak turun'," he added.

Zaini said in the event that Anwar's government collapsed, his media team should not be surprised as it was now a common occurence in Malaysia.

"That's what happens when our political parties just get the bare minimum votes."

Yesterday, Anwar rubbished talk that his government, formed with support from Barisan Nasional and Sarawak's Gabungan Parti Sarawak following the hung parliament in the November election, had lost its majority.

"We, the unity government, will serve a full term until the next general election. I'm very confident or else I wouldn't say this," he told reporters when asked about the speculation.