Is birthday boy Najib’s Facebook account now used merely as a UMNO campaign tool?

ON July 16 (2023), the New Straits Times highlighted a post from the Facebook (FB) account of former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s which claimed that it was during his era (2009-2018) that “some of the highest income and salary increases in the history of Malaysia, particularly benefiting the Bumiputera community and rural areas” was achieved.

It is mind-boggling as to how the 70-year-old disgraced leader who is currently serving a 12-year jail term at the Kajang prison is still able to make his virtual presence felt through regular social media posts, sometimes up to a few posts a day.

In fact, it can be assumed that the frequency gets higher as the D-Day for state polls on Aug 12 draws closer. Yes, so frequent that on certain days, there could be half a dozen posts.

But was it Najib who posted these messages? One has to just exercise some critical thinking in order to ascertain if the messages are merely propaganda by different individuals.

In fact, the latest post on the former Pekan MP’s 70th birthday which happens to fall today (July 23) has every hint that it was put up by an ‘administrator’ who has access to his FB account.

Sources close to Najib said that the posts are done mainly by his cybertroopers who are assigned to continue his legacy. They noted that prisoners are not supposed to be provided with Internet access, hence unless Najib is given the exception, he would not be able to even read the posts on his own FB page or that of other social media platforms.

Some posts clearly depict that Najib could not have done the posting himself. A July 16 post, for example, included figures and charts that despite time on his hands, Najib could not have easily obtained or researched the materials himself to post on his Facebook page.

Some posts, for example, are assumed to have been uploaded by his own family members (or someone doing on their behalf) as they claimed to be a message that was left by “Daddy” on his table before he was sent to prison. Very probably, this was done to draw sympathy from the Bossku (Najib’s moniker) fanatics.

Other posts are done with a political twist. For example, a news portal believed to be linked to former PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali has suggested that the Najib factor is still very strong within UMNO to cause them to support Perikatan Nasional (PN).

Quoting political analyst Mazlan Ali, Najib who still holds strong sway within UMNO may ask them to vote for PAS, Bersatu and Gerakan. “If Najib tells them to, they might,” suggested Mazlan.

Such a post on his Facebook at a time when the six states are facing the elections can be misconstrued as the former Pekan MP trying to influence the outcome of the state elections on August 12.

Even then, Najib should not forget that he was first charged by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government led by his nemesis, the former twice premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and he finally went to jail after his appeal was rejected by the apex court during the PN-Barisan Nasional (BN) era.

Therefore, it is unlikely that Najib would support PN the way it was projected by the news portal.

Most other posts were picked up from various mainstream media which highlighted his court cases and application for royal pardon made on his behalf by UMNO.

Further analysis of the contents of the FB posts makes it very obvious that the Najib Razak official FB account is now used by certain individuals as a campaign platform.

A regular Facebook account using a Chinese name Lim Sian See appears to be more Malay in his style of writing. Very seldom would an ordinary FB account owner have 14,000 followers which upon checking revealed that the list of followers is not accessible.

Another FB account, Najib Razak Bossku is focused on campaigning in Mandarin using some of the posts from the official website but translated into Chinese.

The objectives of the Najib Razak FB accounts are quite obvious – to make the former premier still relevant in the social media despite being placed behind bars for corruption in the SRC International court case.

By so doing, this is to influence a certain voting pattern and to hype up people’s sympathy towards Najib with the hope that he would eventually receive a royal pardon and even return to power one day. – July 23, 2023

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