Dislodged Liar’s Denial Lambasted

Dislodged Menteri Besar Kedah and PPBM President Dato’ Seri Mukhriz Mahathir tried to lie about using international polling analytical expert Cambridge Analytica’s services provided to him personally in 13GE, but disputed by his former aide.

Statement by Azrin Zizal

21 March 2018

1. Mukhriz Mahathir’s statement yesterday about Cambridge Analytica’s advice for the Kedah campaign in 2013 contained outright lies.

2. Mukhriz says I was only his media officer until 2013 and that I was no longer with him when he became Chief Minister of Kedah. But this is absolutely false. I worked for Mukhriz personally and provided communications and strategy advice for him until 2015, including during the 2013 general election, and afterwards when he became Chief Minister. I will provide proof if he continues to falsify the truth.

3. Perhaps – while Mukhriz continues to deny my work for him and deny the benefits he gained from the advice I provided to him from Cambridge Analytica/SCL Group for Kedah during the 2013 general election – he will also deny Kedah winning an extra six parliament seats, winning over the State and him becoming Chief Minister?

5. Lastly, Mukhriz said Cambridge Analytica worked for Barisan Nasional. This again is not true. At no time has Cambridge Analytica or its parent SCL Group ever worked for or been paid by BN or any part of the Government of Malaysia. The 2013 election advice for Kedah was provided to Mukhriz personally.

6. It is time for Mukhriz to stop deliberately distorting the facts to save himself, and come clean.

Azrin Zizal

************

The ruckus started when Mukhriz new ally political analyst President of IDEAS Wan Saiful Wan Jan who recently joined the mainstream political foray by jumping into the former’s party, made the startling revelation about Barisan Nasional used Cambridge Analytica in 13GE.

The Straits Times story:

Malaysian politicians point fingers as Cambridge Analytica linked to 2013 polls

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and his fellow Barisan Nasional party members celebrate their 2013 general election win at Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur on May 6, 2013.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and his fellow Barisan Nasional party members celebrate their 2013 general election win at Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur on May 6, 2013.PHOTO: ST FILE

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) has become embroiled in the Cambridge Analytica scandal as the opposition on Tuesday (March 20) questioned Prime Minister Najib Razak’s role in using the big data firm to score wins in the country’s 2013 polls.

But the administration has denied employing the firm, and said any services were provided personally to former BN leader turned opposition politician Mukhriz Mahathir.

On its website, Cambridge Analytica said that it “supported Barisan Nasional (BN) in Kedah state with a targeted messaging campaign highlighting (its) school improvements since 2008”.

“Barisan Nasional won Kedah back from Pakatan Rakyat in the 13th General Election and walked away from a successful campaign. With wins in 21 out of 36 state seats and 10 out of the 15 parliamentary seats in the state, BN enjoyed a landslide victory,” it added. Pakatan Rakyat was the opposition pact then.

The London-based political consulting firm has been under scrutiny after being accused of extracting the personal data of up to 50 million Facebook users without their consent. In an undercover report by Britain’s Channel 4, the firm’s executives mentioned it was involved in Malaysia’s election.

“The revelation spurred opposition politicians on Tuesday to demand answers on the firm’s role, described by some as “foreign interference”.

“Najib should immediately explain how much was paid to Cambridge Analytica in GE13 and what was the exact nature of their work for Umno,” said Mr Wan Saiful Wan Jan, deputy chairman of strategy and policy at Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM).

“I was shocked to learn about the relationship between Najib’s campaign with Cambridge Analytica,” Mr Wan Saiful said.

He said the firm, which had been engaged by United States President Donald Trump’s campaign for the 2016 election, had made use of the data it had retained to launch targeted ads to specific users in a manipulative way.

Mr Wan Saiful noted that Cambridge Analytica’s investors included Republican billionaire Robert Mercer, who is known for his financial contributions to Mr Trump’s right-wing campaign, and other American right-wing organisations. He added that former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, who is notorious for his right-wing views, was also on the Board of the company.

Cambridge Analytica’s website states that the firm “supported Barisan Nasional in Kedah State with a targeted messaging campaign highlighting their school improvements since 2008”. PHOTO: CA-POLITICAL.COM

But Mr Wan Saiful’s query has led back to his party colleague and former Kedah chief minister Mukhriz, who spearheaded BN’s election campaign in the state in 2013. .

Datuk Seri Mukhriz denied any knowledge of the data analytics firm. “No, I was not aware of CA (Cambridge Analytica), let alone engaged their services at any time,” Mr Mukhriz told The Straits Times.

According to news portal Malaysiakini, Mr Mukhriz said: “Perhaps they were consulting with the Prime Minister’s Office or BN’s headquarters.”

The Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement on Tuesday saying neither Cambridge Analytica nor its parent company SCL Group had ever been employed by BN or the government.  It added that the SCL Group country representative had confirmed Cambridge Analytica provided advice on the 2013 election personally to Mr Mukhriz, and that he reported directly to Mr Mukhriz.

The statement did not name the representative, but he is believed to be Mr Azrin Zizal, a former media officer to Mr Mukhriz.

Mr Mukhriz  said via Twitter on Tuesday that Mr Azrin Zizal was his media officer from 2009 to 2013 when Mr Mukhriz was at the Ministry of Trade and Industry.  “He was not employed by me as a representative of SCL Group or Cambridge Analytica, and he was no longer my media officer when I became Kedah MB,” he said, referring to his post as Menteri Besar.

Mr Wan Saiful said the matter was ultimately one for Mr Najib to clarify. “Usage of services like this is usually not something conducted at the state level. Operations like this would normally be run from the centre. That is why it is only for for Najib to explain,” he said.

“Additionally, I am more worried about what Najib will do now for GE14 rather than what Kedah state did in the past. That is why it is important for them to explain if they are planning the same for GE14,” he added.

Facebook has come under pressure after The New York Times and The Guardian newspaper reported that Cambridge Analytica had used data, including user likes, inappropriately obtained from roughly 50 million Facebook users.

Facebook has suspended the firm and on Monday hired forensic auditors to investigate and determine whether Cambridge Analytica still had the misused data.

British privacy regulators are seeking a warrant to search the firm’s offices while European and US lawmakers are seeking an explanation of how it gained access to the data.

************

The consulting firm subsidiary of SCL admitted that the Cambridge Analytica system was provided personally to Mukhriz instead of Barisan Nasional in the 13GE.

The Star story:

SCL rep confirms reporting to Mukhriz


  • NATION
  • Wednesday, 21 Mar 2018

PETALING JAYA: Cambridge Analytica’s advice on the 2013 general election was provided personally to Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, said the Federal Government.

A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said the SCL Group’s country representative confirmed the matter.

“The SCL representative also confirmed that he reported directly to Mukhriz Mahathir, not Barisan or the Government.

“Neither Cambridge Analytica nor its parent company SCL Group have ever – now or in the past – been contracted, employed or paid in any way by Barisan Nasional, the Prime Minister’s Office or any part of the Government of Malaysia,” the statement read.

When contacted, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia deputy president Mukhriz said the statement was false.

He claimed the PMO’s statement was to divert attention away from a recent statement that Cambridge Analytica worked closely with Barisan for both the 2008 and 2013 general elections.

“The representative that they meant, I assume is this chap by the name of Azrin Zizal.

“He was employed by me personally when I was Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry as a media officer, not as a representative of any company.

“If Azrin or anyone else is trying to imply that they were the ones providing strategies and things like that for Barisan to win over Kedah from the PAS government back then, that will all be false actually,” he said.

When asked if he would take any action against the allegations made, Mukhriz, who was the head of the Kedah Barisan election machinery for GE13, said he would think about it.

Azrin was Mukhriz’s media officer from 2009 to 2013. Mukhriz did not extend his employment when he became Kedah Mentri Besar.

In a separate event, Pribumi president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin denied any knowledge of Cambridge Analytica allegedly influencing votes during GE13.

“I don’t know. I’ve no knowledge and this is the first time I’m hearing about the matter,” he told reporters in Parliament yesterday.

He was Deputy Prime Minister and Umno deputy president from 2009 to 2015 and also Barisan’s elections director during GE13.

On its website, Cambridge Analytica stated in its Malaysia case study that it supported Barisan in Kedah with a targeted messaging campaign highlighting their school improvements since 2008, which resulted in Barisan winning Kedah back from Pakatan Rakyat.

“With wins in 21 out of 36 state seats and 10 out of the 15 parliamentary seats in the state, BN enjoyed a landslide victory,” the case study read.

Pakatan Harapan and Pribumi chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who was also present during the press conference, denied that Kedah had engaged Cambridge Analytica in political campaigns.

“Kedah never had outside interference in elections. There is no record of the Kedah government doing such things.

“The Federal Government dealt with them. Not Kedah,” he claimed.

Cambridge Analytica is a London-based political consulting firm which has been accused of extracting the personal data of up to 50 million Facebook users without consent to help Donald Trump in his US presidential campaign in 2016.

******************

Yesterday, Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement denying Barisan Nasional nor Malaysia Government used the services of Cambridge Analytica.

CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA HAS NEVER BEEN HIRED BY BARISAN NASIONAL OR THE MALAYSIAN GOVERNMENT

Contrary to media reports, neither Cambridge Analytica nor its parent company SCL Group have ever – now or in the past – been contracted, employed or paid in any way by Barisan Nasional, the Prime Minister’s Office or any part of the Government of Malaysia.

However, the SCL Group country representative today confirmed to the Government that Cambridge Analytica’s advice on the 2013 general election was provided personally to Mukhriz Mahathir, PPBM Deputy President. The SCL representative also confirmed that he reported directly to Mukhriz Mahathir, not BN or the Government.

20th March 2018

Prime Minister’s Office

Malaysia

************

Mukhriz’s response to the statement was surprising.

Tuesday March 20, 2018
08:47 PM GMT+8

UPDATED:
March 20, 2018
10:28 PM GMT+8

Earlier today, Mukhriz had denied working with CA in the previous polls. — Picture by Azneal IshakEarlier today, Mukhriz had denied working with CA in the previous polls. — Picture by Azneal IshakKUALA LUMPUR, March 20 — Putrajaya and ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) said today they had never engaged controversial data firm Cambridge Analytica’s (CA) services in 13th general elections.

In a statement to the media, the Prime Minister’s Office stated that a representative from CA’s parent company SCL Group earlier confirmed that it had personally provided its advice to then-Kedah Umno chief and now Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) deputy president Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir.

“Neither Cambridge Analytica nor its parent company SCL Group have ever — now or in the past — been contracted, employed or paid in any way by Barisan Nasional, the Prime Minister’s Office or any part of the Government of Malaysia,” the statement read.

“The SCL representative also confirmed that he reported directly to Mukhriz Mahathir, not BN or the Government,” it said.

Earlier today, Mukhriz had denied working with CA in the previous polls.

However, Mukhriz admitted that he personally knows SCL Group’s South-east Asia head, Azrin Zizal, who was his former press officer when he served as international trade and industry deputy minister from 2009 to 2013.

Azrin had earlier refused to comment on the matter when queried by Malay Mail.

CA claimed to have supported the BN Kedah campaign during the 2013 general election with a “targeted messaging campaign” highlighting school improvements since 2008.

The election saw a swing back to BN’s favour with a landslide victory in which 21 out of 36 state seats and 10 out of 15 parliamentary seats returned to the ruling coalition’s hands.

Mukhriz was appointed the mentri besar following the victory; however, he resigned from the post on February 3, 2016 after the Regency council told him that he had lost the support of the majority in the state legislative assembly.

CA came under pressure after The New York Times and The Guardian newspapers reported that the company had used data obtained from roughly 50 million Facebook users without their permission.

The social media platform suspended the firm and hired forensic auditors yesterday to find out if CA had misused the data.

The company’s website lists five office locations in New York, Washington, London, Brazil and Malaysia.

**************

When the story about Mukhriz used the services Camridge Analytica in the 13GE first surfaced, he wanted to take the firm to court.

The Malay Mail Online story:

Tuesday March 20, 2018
10:00 PM GMT+8

ICYMI

The Prime Minister’s Office stated that a representative from CA’s parent company SCL Group earlier confirmed that it had directly provided its advice to Mukhriz. ― Picture by Saw Siow FengThe Prime Minister’s Office stated that a representative from CA’s parent company SCL Group earlier confirmed that it had directly provided its advice to Mukhriz. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, March 20 — Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) said today it would seek the advice of its lawyers to see if there are any grounds for legal action against the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) over a statement linking Cambridge Analytica (CA) and a top PPBM leader.

The party’s chief strategist Datuk Rais Husin told Malay Mail that the press statement from PMO quoting SCL alleging that CA worked with then-Umno Kedah chief and now PPBM deputy president Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir was a “complete and blatant lie”.

“It is highly defamatory. We are not taking anything off the table including unleashing legal action against them,” Rais said in reference to the statement.

“This is clear defamation and an attempt to smear Mukhriz, especially since he has issued two statements [on the matter].

“Yet, they continue doing this. This is a mode of distraction which they are good at,” he added, referring to the statement.

Putrajaya and ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) said in a statement earlier today they had never engaged CA’s services in 13th general election.

Instead, the Prime Minister’s Office stated that a representative from CA’s parent company SCL Group earlier confirmed that it had directly provided its advice to Mukhriz.

Mukhriz admitted that he personally knows SCL Group’s South-east Asia head, Azrin Zizal, who was his former press officer when he served as international trade and industry deputy minister from 2009 to 2013.

However, he denied working with the controversial data mining firm during the 13th General Election. CA on the other hand has stated on its website that it was instrumental for BN’s Kedah victory.

* A previous version of the article erroneously reported Rais as saying PPBM was considering action against Cambridge Analytica. He has since clarified that he meant the Prime Minister’s Office.

****************

Now the true value of Mukhriz’s leadership is questionable. The question now did Mukhriz lie about Cambridge Analytica or his memory failed him?

The is also the probability that he was oblivion of things and information that were passed to him in the GE.

Just like the mutiny about his cronies being placed in strategic position in his party.

Regardless, his credibility as a ‘heir apparent’ of a wannabe political party created out of anger, obsession and rejection has started to be proven again as a failure, much like his short lived MB-ship.

Published in: on March 21, 2018 at 23:00  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Semua dia tak tahu. Takyah jadi ahli politik la Mukhriz. Ahli politik utk jadi pemimpin dan bukan dipimpin mcm pengantin.

  2. Isu mengenai Cambridge Analytica memberi perkhidmatan kepada Mukhriz semasa PRU 13 ni menimbulkan tanda-tanya samada beliau sebenarnya ialah:

    1. Pembohong
    2. Pelupa
    3. Blur

    Apa pun jawapanya, kredibiliti beliau lenyap sebagaimana kepimpinan sebagai MB Kedah, digulingkan ADUN-ADUN sendiri dalam tempoh tak sampai pun tiga tahun.

    Agaknya, pemberontakkan dalaman PPBM sekarang ni pun dia tak perasan!


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