January 10 - A blog which has been relentlessly slamming Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin, is now threatening to post an upside down picture of de facto Pakatan Rakyat leader Anwar Ibrahim on its site.
The blog wants Anwar to sack Mohammad Fairus from the state Pakatan government for perceived incompetence. It has already displayed photographs of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, his deputy Najib Abdul Razak and Mohammad Fairus upside down.
In a recent meeting with state party leaders and elected representatives in Penanti on the mainland, Anwar issued a firm warning to the operators of the blog, saying harsh action will be taken against them if they are found to be PKR members, as has been widely claimed.
It is learnt that Anwar is deadly serious in efforts to halt the character assassination campaign being vigorously carried out by Mohammad Fairus’ detractors.
Mohammad Fairus, who is Penanti assemblyperson, was also ordered by Anwar to be more open to criticism and improve on his work.
Early last month, a controversy erupted when Mohammad Fairus was wrongfully accused of threatening to ‘behead’ several state PKR youth leaders, who were planning to hand over a memorandum to him.
The memorandum contained several points demanding that Mohammad Fairus and two other PKR executive councillors in the Pakatan state government - Bukit Tambun assemblyperson Law Choo Kiang and Batu Maung representative Abdul Malik Kassim - improve their work.
The anti-Fairus blog, however, claimed that the deputy chief minister declined to meet the youth leaders and threatened to ‘behead’ them for demanding that he step down gracefully, an allegation denied by both Mohammad Fairus and the then state PKR acting youth leader, Bukit Tengah assemblyperson Ong Chin Wen.
Trial And Error
Newly appointed state PKR youth chief and Balik Pulau Member of Parliament Yusmaidi Yusoff is, however, more philosophical about the situation, pointing out that "Fairus is a victim of a try and error process, and his detractors are trying to capitalise on it".
Referring to several shortcomings of the Penanti assemblyperson during the early days of the new Pakatan state government, Yusmaidi pointed out that they were caused largely by inexperience, incompetence and mistakes.
"PKR leaders and members should realise that Mohammad Fairus is a symbol of PKR’s youthful leadership in the Pakatan state government. We should help him, not criticise him," Yusmaidi told Malaysiakini.
On the anti-Fairus blog, Yusmaidi suggested that the blogger not resort to writing lies and half-truths to air his grievances as a PKR member.
By attacking Mohammad Fairus openly, he said the blogger was painting a bad image of PKR.
"But blogging has now become part of the country’s democratic process and we all have to live with it," he said.
Yusmaidi is also hoping to use his youth movement to empower and strengthen Mohammad Fairus’ position and credibility.
"The state youth movement will assist Fairus in all ways and means for him to succeed. His success is imperative for the party’s growth in Penang," he said.
With Anwar threatening to wield the axe on the anti-Fairus blog and Yusmadi backing the embattled deputy chief minister, the blog’s threat to hang Anwar’s portrait upside down may just backfire.
"Mengikut Perjanjian itu, tiap-tiap Negeri akan menerima 5% daripada nilai petroliam yang dijumpai dan diperolehi dalam kawasan perairan atau di luar perairan Negeri tersebut yang dijual oleh PETRONAS atau ejensi-ejensi atau kontrektor-kontrektornya".- Tun Abdul Razak, Dewan Rakyat (12hb. November, 1975)