Malaysia Dateline

Is Papagomo untouchable?

I was disappointed but not surprised to learn that Wan Azri aka Papagomo was conferred with the Darjah Kebesaran Pangkat Keempat Johan Mahkota Wilayah (JMW) award recently.

It is a shame that we as a country continuously enable a man who reflects all that is rotten with our current political landscape.

In fact, it seems that the more controversy Wan Azri courts, the more he seems to get rewarded, as shown in the timeline below.

In 2004, former policeman Wan Azri was released from his duties for soliciting a bribe from a suspected drug addict.

Somehow this crooked ex-cop found himself rubbing shoulders with Umno’s politically affluent and carved a path for himself in the world of gutter politics.

In 2009, the same year that Najib Razak became Prime Minister, a blogger who went by the name of Papagomo appeared on the scene.

He was quickly gaining infamy as a “no holds barred” truth-spinner in the blogging community.

He made national headlines two years later in 2011 when he spread malicious and sickening rumors about Lim Guan Eng’s then underage son.

Turns out the story was completely fabricated and yet Azri was free to continue with his reign of fake news. No action was taken against him even though the victim of his allegations was a minor.

In 2013, Azri was outed as Papagomo by PKR’s Rafizi Ramli in a defamation suit brought by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court then ordered Azri to pay close to RM1 million to Anwar. No harm, no foul.

Azri was able to rack up donations from his supporters and continued to be a crucial figure in Umno’s outreach strategy.

In 2015, he was arrested for his connection in the Low Yat riots for spreading misinformation on his social media which may have lead to the brawls.

In 2016, Azri was fined RM 4,300 for assaulting a foreign worker three times in a video which he uploaded to his Facebook page.

His sacrifices weren’t for naught however. Umno clearly realized what an asset this man was to their party, that he was eventually voted in as part of Umno’s Youth Exco lineup.

One can only imagine the ordeal if DAP had been linked to such a controversial figure. But since this was Umno, no one batted an eye.

After all, Umno has always relied on race politics as an election strategy and Azri was certainly playing his part to stir racial tension in the country.

Back in 2018, Azri was arrested again for his infamous video in which he states his desire to revoke the voting rights of Chinese and Indians in Malaysia.

Of course, he backpedaled quickly and claimed the video was referring only to the Chinese and Indians in DAP, but is that any better?

As Syed Saddiq pointed out, “The explanation used to defend himself is disgusting. It is as if racial attacks against DAP members are allowed.”

No surprise then that in 2019 witnesses alleged Azri physically attacked Syed Saddiq by putting him in a headlock.

The young politician later confirmed that the attack actually caused soft tissue injury in his neck.

If his resume wasn’t impressive enough, in 2020 we learned that Azri was allegedly a team leader for Rosmah Mansor’s RM 100k a year cyber-trooper army that was paid to look after her image online.

Was there no background check done before he was given the JMW award?

As twitter user @FarahAziz pointed out, “If these are the people we are lauding, God knows where Malaysia is headed”.

When men like Azri are honoured despite their racist and destructive behavior, the unified Malaysia we dream of remains just that, a dream.