Najib’s RM20 million image builders are Israelis
SHAH ALAM: APCO Worldwide, the company hired by the prime minister to redeem his flagging image, has allegedly offered similar services to dictators and corrupt leaders around the globe, according to The Times of India.
India’s most influential newspaper reported recently that apart from Najib, the Washington-based PR company had also serviced former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha and Kazakhstan’s life-long president Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev.
APCO’s clients have also included millionaire Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was once the youth leader for the Russian Communist Party and who had links with the mafia.
The Times said APCO Worldwide had the capability of re-engineering the image of public figures and leaders who were not popular with the people.
The paper launched an investigation into APCO Worldwide after it was discovered that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was a client of the company.
Narendra had been accused of being the cause of religious riots in February 2002, in which 1,000 people were killed, the majority being Muslims.
The Gujarat state government hired APCO Worldwide to re-build Narendra’s image, paying it a fee of US$25,000 a month.
“Although APCO’s services are three time more costly than what other PR firms offer, it was chosen because it had many former Republicans and Democrats acting as consultants,”The Times said.
The Malaysian Government is believed to have anchored APCO with a RM20 million contract immediately after Najib became Prime Minister.
Established in 1984, APCO Worldwide is a global communication company with a network extending across 25 major cities in the world.
Its clients include national governments, corporate holdings, industrial organisations and not-for-profit agencies.
APCO Worldwide set up office in Kuala Lumpur on 1 September 2009 after it was signed on by the Najib Government.
Among the company’s key advisors are experts who once worked with Israel’s Zionist regime. They include Shimon Shein, former Israeli ambassador to Germany, Itamar Rabinovich, former Israeli ambassador to the US and Doron Bergerbest-Eilon, former chief of Israel’s national security agency.
Modi’s image builders have dictators on client list
TNN, 18 November 2007, 01:36am IST
AHMEDABAD: Adolf Hitler was a brilliant propagandist. Narendra Modi too believes in the power. Which is probably why the chief minister hired a US lobbying firm which has serviced clients like former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha and President-for-life of Kazakhstan Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev.
This Washington-based firm, Apco Worldwide, was hired by Modi sometime in August this year, in the run-up to an important Assembly election, to improve his image before the world community. Among its recent clients are Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former Communist youth leader-turned-Russian billionaire with mafia links.
The firm has a distinction of taking contracts of boosting images of leaders who fell out of favour of their followers.
On the face of it Apco Worldwide’s brief is to build and sell Brand Gujarat to the international community. But according to sources Modi, who was denied visa by the US earlier because of the taint he earned in the 2002 riots, wants his image to be improved so that he gets to visit the US in future.
The Modi regime feels lobbying is required to attract much-sought after foreign direct investment (FDI) which has been a cause for concern even though Gujarat is topping the charts among Indian states in terms of overall investments, according to latest statistics brought out by the Reserve Bank of India.
Modi, of course, still nurtures the wish to get an US visa and some of his NRI friends have advised him to use the services of lobbyists for the same. Sources in the government told TOI that if it works and Modi comes back to power, Apco’s contract will be renewed in January for Vibrant Gujarat 2009, the event that Modi prides himself in, for bringing investments to the state.
The Gujarat government will pay Apco 25,000 USD per month for the Modi image building exercise.
Sources in the government said Modi thought of this image-building exercise during his visit to Switzerland earlier this year. His government shortlisted some seven national and international firms, without floating tenders of which two were shortlisted. Even though it quoted a sum that was three times more than others, Apco was picked for the job.
The reason given was that Apco has a better team. Apco has former senators from Republican and Democratic parties working with it.
Pejabat Ketua AMK