KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 4 ― Umno should be quick to refute any fake news immediately in order to prevent a negative public perception on the party and its leaders, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today.
The deputy prime minister criticised the party for being slow to react towards the accusations made by former Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak allegedly paid off PAS to stop attacks on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
“We need to address negative news immediately. If we don’t and only give a response three or four months after, it will be like what Ambiga has done when she accused PAS of receiving money from the PM and 1MDB,” he said while launching the Umno national social media convention today.
Zahid added that Ambiga’s and Sarawak Report’s claims should have been immediately dealt with by the party’s cybertroopers instead of waiting for the matter to reach the UK Courts first before addressing it.
“When Sarawak Report is sued in court, that is when Ambiga comes out to say it was only two paragraphs.
“This matter should have been investigated by us first, not wait until it went to the court. The perception which has come from this has been very destructive,” the Bagan Datoh MP added.
He also urged Umno “social media warriors” to be on alert for any negative news and be prepared to counter any “character assassination” of top leaders.
“You guys are the front line warriors to manage this perception. Court of public opinion is more powerful than the court of law. If the perception is not handled well, we will sink,” Ahmad Zahid said.
Last month, it was reported that Sarawak Report’s editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown had named Ambiga as the source of her accusation that Abdul Hadi allegedly received RM90 million from Najib.
The result has been a media firestorm for the former Bersih 2.0 co-chairman with many from the Barisan Nasional as well as members of the Islamist party PAS calling for her to apologise or explain herself.
Ambiga has maintained her silence in view of the pending proceedings.