KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 — Media advisor to the prime minister Datuk A. Kadir Jasin told lawyers at a posh dinner tonight that he never shut DAP out even as he spent decades demonising the party as chief editor of the media owned by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government.
The former New Straits Times Press (NSTP) Group chief boss said he was never ideologically inclined to “not to get to know” DAP leaders when asked by Malay Mail about his sincere opinion about the party now in government.
His reply was seemingly meant to suggest that he was always open to communication with the Pakatan Harapan (PH) component party, even as he harboured hostile opinions about the party.
“I think the human relations went on,” Kadir said in his response before some 100 top lawyers and mostly corporate attendees.
“I did not let ideology not let me get to know other Malaysians (DAP leaders),” he added.
Earlier, Kadir confessed that he “spent years demonising” the predominantly Chinese party, which was made the Opposition bogeyman for ruling Umno and BN coalition in the past.
Portraying DAP as Chinese chauvinists bent on usurping Malay political power, the party became a point to rouse Malay insecurity and rally the community behind Umno.
Kadir confessed tonight that the media campaign against DAP was probably among the major reasons why the Malays continue to view the party suspiciously to this day.
“I spent years demonising DAP,” he said.
“Well, actually, the whole Opposition (at the time), but mostly DAP,” he added.
The former NSTP chief editor was among the first high-profile Umno figures to abandon the party to protest the leadership of then-prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who now faces a mountain of corruption charges linked to state fund 1MDB.
He left in 2015 and has since become a member of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), an Umno splinter party set up by current prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Even as PPBM and DAP are now allies, the former journalist remains critical of DAP leaders.
In the weeks after PH took power, Kadir criticised Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng for what he saw as impatience on the part of the DAP secretary-general after the latter went public about the country’s debt.
The stock market tumbled and investors fled after Lim disclosed that the state debt and liabilities stood at over a trillion ringgit.
But Kadir spoke with a forgiving tone when he mentioned Lim tonight, saying the DAP leader was still learning just as most of the current Cabinet lineup are, the majority of whom are novices with no administrative experience.
“He was inexperienced and he is still learning,” the PM’s media advisor said.