KUALA LUMPUR – March 23, 2017: A Malaysian journalist/blogger based in Australia has been accused by a local blogger of being an economic saboteur following the former’s criticisms against the recently signed Saudi Aramco-Petronas joint venture.
To Zakhir Mohamed, who blogs as Big Dog, Ganesh Sahathevan had manipulated two news reports about Saudi Aramco pulling out of the deal.
According to Zakhir, Ganesh’s blog post on March 19 had insinuated that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Petronas group chief executive officer Datuk Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin were not on good terms.
“He (Ganesh) attacked and accused Wan Zulkifllee of being a saboteur of the country’s economy,” wrote Big Dog.
“Then, he baselessly dragged the EPF (Employees’ Providence Fund) into the matter by arguing that taxpayers’ money will eventually be used to bail out Rapid (if Saudi Aramco decided not to invest by taking an equity),” he added.
Rapid refers to the Petronas Refinery and Petrochemical Development project in which Saudi Aramco decided to participate.
Any controversy on the Saudi Aramco-Petronas joint venture was thrown out of the window when they inked the deal last month during King Salman’s official visit to Kuala Lumpur.
Ganesh, who was contacted by The Mole today, reacted to Big Dog’s allegation by cynically expressing his happiness and said he was flattered that an “Umno blogger has taken notice of my work”.
The former journalist with the local Sun newspaper maintained that what he wrote about Wan Zulkiflee was based on official news reports and press releases by Saudi Aramco.
“He (Big Dog) does not dispute my story….. I would be happy for him to do so.
“I have put all the references out there (in the posts) so that readers can decide for themselves. Having said that, let me now turn to Big Dog,” Ganesh wrote.
“Nowhere has he (Big Dog) addressed the main bloody issue that I raised (in another blog post on March 13), which is the very existence of the bloody USD$7 billion cash injection,” he wrote.
An attempt to check the post which Ganesh said was not addressed by Big Dog failed because it could not be accessed.
When contacted again, Ganesh claimed that the blog post had been blocked.
In 2000, Ganesh was sued by Malaysian tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan in Malaysian and Australian courts for defamation after he sent two e-mail about the apparent troubles affecting Tan’s Berjaya Group to journalists with foreign news organisations.
The gag order imposed on him was struck down by the Australian supreme court two years later.
(Note: Zakhir is the chief executive officer of The Mole.)