Remaking Prime Minister Najib Razak’s image is probably the toughest challenge ever faced by public relations consultant Lim Kok Wing, political analyst Shahbudin Husin says in his latest blog posting. But it might just work if Lim gathers the best local PR consultants to rally with him, say some quarters.
There are many other media experts on the attack to contend with. Kadir Jasin for example, who together with former PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, have gathered full steam.
Shahbudin wonders what magic Lim can work to remove from Najib’s image the stains and blotches that have been left there by so many controversies, such as the 1MDB scandal, the Altantuya murder, the Goods and Services Tax and his wife’s alleged extravagance.
To drive home his point that Lim faces an impossible task, he likens it to attempting to rebuild an old car into one that is brand new.
“Najib is like a car that is almost a total loss and cannot be depended upon to take one very far,” he says. “Reviving, repairing and beautifying it would cost more than buying a new car.
“Given Najib’s badly mangled image, Lim would no doubt be handsomely paid from the people’s money for his services. But will the kampung folk and the Felda settlers be impressed enough to accept the remade Najib, now that they’ve begun to reject him, as shown in the result of the Rompin by-election?”
Shahbudin notes from various reports that Lim’s main function is to bring about a return of the public’s support for Najib through road shows in which the Prime Minister would personally listen to grouses against his administration.
This means, he says, that Najib is determined to defend his post. “He will not cave in to pressure and step down to save the nation and give some hope to Barisan Nasional to retain power after the next general election.”
He doubts that Lim is equal to his function. “Najib not only faces the rejection of the public at large, he’s also losing the support of Umno leaders and members. It’s an open secret that the people want to see changes in the leadership, judging from their reaction to the video recording of Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s speech last week.”
He points out that former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad remains Najib’s sharpest critic and is determined to see him ousted.
“How will Lim cope with all the issues people are talking about and the challenge posed by Mahathir? Can he build walls which can help Najib withstand wave after wave of rejection?”
It’s not as if Lim has not failed before in a government assignment, he says, referring to the “Say No to Smoking” campaign. He claims that the campaign “saw an even greater increase in the number of young smokers.”
Shahbudin ends his posting with a Photoshopped portrait of Najib wearing Lim’s hair.