KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak may be quite happening with his Facebook skills, savvy walkabout campaigns and “People First, Performance Now” slogan, but his poor ratings on-air over TV3’s prime time programme Soal Jawab recently smacks of trouble.
According to research company AGB Neilsen, Najib’s appearance on the show recorded an all-time low of 270,000 viewers. A shocking revelation for any national premier.
Neilsen’s record showed that when his cousin, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammudin Hussein and maverick parliamentarian Kulim Bandar Baharu’s Zulkifili Noordin took to the same show, viewership soared hitting 487,000 and 438,000 respectively.
Respectable figures, according to sources at TV3 because prime time slots, which are between 10pm and 11pm, usually draw 1.5 to 2 million viewers.
PAS deputy president Datuk Mahfuz Omar said the fact that “people switched off or changed channels” at the time just showed that Najib was losing his credibility and charisma within the party and outside.
“It just shows the rakyat don’t want to hear his rhetoric anymore. Not watching Najib on air is like a protest against his leadership. But what’s surprising is that his own Umno members, said to be over two million, didn’t catch it.
“If this trend continues, it will lead to yet another ‘grand design’ to overthrow Najib, the way they did to Pak Lah (former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) after his popularity dipped sharply," said Mahfuz.
Meanwhile, Sungai Petani parliamentarian Datuk Johari Abdul said the programme did not deal with the issue of Najib’s credibility or his scandal-ridden tenure.
“The rakyat want answers and they are not getting it. They have lost faith in him as a prime minister because todate, he has not come clean on several issues and criminal allegations. We are not accusing him of murdering Altanthuya, but until now he has not denied it and this gives the impression that he is trying to hide the crime," he said.
According to Johari, Najib’s credibility is at an all-time low because of his link to several scandals, including the submarine purchase and missing jet engines.
Nonetheless, his expensive PR machinery will continue to exploit Umno-BN’s extensive reach over the local mainstream media and position him as the people’s champion.