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Ministry head of comms under fire over FB posts

Zaidi Azmi
Written by Zaidi Azmi

KUALA LUMPUR – December 19, 2019: The head of the Youth and Sports Ministry corporate communication unit, Yaakob Osman, has landed in hot soup in social media following his snubs at national athlete, Irfan Shamsuddin.

Yaakob’s controversial remark on Facebook yesterday, came hot on the heels of Irfan’s tweet that criticised the government’s unfair treatment of national athletes who were unable to meet their key performance indexes (KPI) as opposed to similar failures of several sports agencies.

“[He is] only at Sea Games level but demand as if [he’s] an Olympic medallist. Azizul Hasni Awang, Pandelela Rinong [are] Olympic medallist. See their achievements, training and attitude. Compare it to those who are yapping in Twitter,” wrote Yaakob.

While there were those who agreed with him, many however, were having none of it with some of the acridest rejoinders were those expressed by former journalists who argued that Yaakob was unfit for his post.

“He is the worst communications head ever. Arrogant to the max. You are there for a reason and to mock our sportsmen who worked their hardest to make the nation proud isn’t one of them,” wrote Puteri Kamaliah who used to work for the New Straits Times (NST).

She also needled on the Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman for hiring a man with “no shred of decency and humility” such as Yaakob to head the ministry’s corporate communications unit.

Yaakob, who is also a member of Pribumi Bersatu, was the Pakatan Harapan (PH)’s candidate for the Penaga state assembly seat in Penang in last year’s general election. He was however disqualified from contesting due to his bankruptcy status.

“Serves him right for being unable to be an elected representative. So now, he’s just a rambling chatterbox. What a waste of taxpayers’ funds on him and all the useless bunch of idiots in PH,” wrote another former NST journalist, Datuk Hasnah Rahman.

Sports journalist Haresh Deol had also reacted to Yaakob’s posts, arguing that those who do not know how to manage, and handle athletes should not work with the ministry.

“You expect athletes to be ‘Pak Turut’ (yes-men)? If athletes are out of line, put them in their place. But you also need to have character and reputation to do that. If you can’t handle individuals with character, managing isn’t your thing. Athletes win medals, not officials/ failed politicians,” Haresh tweeted.

Yaakob however, was not the only political appointee in the ministry.

In March, Haresh, in his TwentyTwo 13 news portal, reported that Yaakob was not the only political appointee in the ministry, with the other being Seputeh Pribumi Bersatu branch chief Muhammad Azizi who was hired “to help beef up” the National Sports Council (NSC).

“NSC insiders confirmed ‘Azizi’s appointment and his political affiliation but refused to comment. Political appointments are common but usually confined to the likes of the minister’s aide, political secretary or press secretary,” he wrote.

Following the online clamour, Yaakob yesterday posted another comment on Facebook, claiming that he was unfazed with the vitriols hurled at him.

“I am on a leave. Those who want to troll me…I don’t care. That they reacted by a mere snub showed that I was spot on and so they do personal attacks on me. It’s okay, after this I’ll post about prayers and other things good,” he wrote.

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About the author

Zaidi Azmi

Zaidi Azmi

If Zaidi Azmi isn’t busy finding his way in the city, this 26-year-old northern kampung boy can be found struggling to make sense of the Malaysian political scene. Zaidi can be reached at zaidiazmi91@gmail.com.