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Najib weighs in as Psy controversy rages on
Publication Date : 14-02-2013
Korean superstar Psy galloped in to Malaysia, performed briefly at the Barisan Nasional (BN) Chinese New Year party in Penang, and galloped out.
But the controversy over the appearance is still raging.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak had to personally declare that no public funds were used to fly Psy in to sing his hit "Gangnam Style".
Meanwhile, pro-Umno and pro-opposition blogs are embroiled in an online debate over whether the crowd yelled "Yes" or "No" when Datuk Seri Najib spoke.
The BN Chinese New Year gathering featuring Psy in Penang on Monday was widely seen as an attempt to win over voters in the Pakatan Rakyat-led state, ahead of a crucial general election that must be called by April 28.
Critics accused the BN of using taxpayers' money to fly in the Korean rapper, speculated to cost some US$2 million.
BN officials said the show was sponsored by an events management company called Mega Ultimate. Najib himself also weighed in.
"Just to reiterate, Psy's performance did not involve public money at all. The public was not charged for watching it either," he said on his Twitter account on Tuesday.
Yesterday, Psy's management company, Scooter Braun Projects, denied that the Malaysian government had engaged or paid for his performance in Penang.
A video appeared two days ago on several pro-Umno blogs showing a segment of the crowd shouting "Yes" when Najib asked: "Are you ready for BN?"
He repeated the question, and the crowd gave a more mixed answer. The third time he asked, it was a more audible "Yes".
The video appeared to be countering an earlier video that went viral, showing a part of the crowd shouting "No" when Najib asked that question.
Khairy Jamaluddin, a BN lawmaker, dismissed the "No" version through his Twitter account. "After seeing several 'Are you ready?' videos, quite obvious that early spin of overwhelming 'No' is, well, just that. Spin."
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim had poked fun at Najib over the "No" video. "For politicians, if you are with the people, you can read the situation," he said. "If you ask whether people support BN and they say 'No', you quickly change the subject."
Some fence-sitters, however, are fed up with the debate.
Yvonne Ho wrote on her Twitter account: "Yes, but no, but, yes. whatever... just decide during elections."