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.