PETALING JAYA: The heads of government linked companies (GLC) who sang a song that later became the theme song for the Barisan Nasional’s election campaign have distanced themselves from the controversial music video.
Those who sang and played musical instruments in the music video titled “Hebat Negaraku” (my country is great) said they did not know the video or the song was going to be a political theme song.
There have been repercussions on the CEOs who appeared in the music video. They have come under scrutiny for making a song that was used as propaganda by Barisan in the last general election.
Three of the GLC bosses in the video have either retired or resigned since the new government took over.
Several more have been speculated to leave in the coming weeks or months but nothing is cast in stone. Sources said this is because most of the CEOs are not known to have campaigned openly for either Barisan or Pakatan Harapan.
“None of the CEOs had a clue it would become a political song. Do you really think the CEOs would have done it if they knew it would become political?” asked one of the CEOs who appeared in the video but declined to be named.
“We have said no to so many things, and we could have easily have said no to this if it was political.’’
Another CEO said he was approached and felt it was “more of a patriotic song and nothing more.”
“At that point in time, we did not think much (of the repercussions). Hebat Negaraku was announced as Barisan’s campaign theme long after the recording was made. We did not know that.’’
Another CEO added: “We thought it was a casual thing when we were approached as some of the CEOs have their own band.’’
It all started when several CEOs were called to be part of a music video and they thought it was to showcase the musical talents of 14 GLCs heads, plus staff members of the 20 key GLCs.
The song is about the greatness, advancement and inspiration of Malaysia. It was released on YouTube on March 22 but has since been taken down.
But fingers have been pointed at the GLCs bosses who made the music video because it became a political video.
Datuk Seri Shazalli Ramly has been said to be the main orchestrator for the group in terms of making the music video. He was also said to be the branding chief for Barisan’s elections campaign.
Barisan lost the elections held on May 9 to Pakatan, which has since formed a new government and is scrutinising all the performance, processes, remuneration and procurement of the government and GLCs.
Shazalli quit his job as group CEO of Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) on June 6. Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB) group managing director Tan Sri Mohamad Salim Fateh Din has retired as group MD last week and it was something he had planned to do. Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd Datuk Badlisham Ghazali did not get his contract renewed. All three were in the music video.
There is a GLC secretariat that now comes under the purview of TM, which was earlier parked under Khazanah Nasional Bhd. The secretariat organised the making of the music video, according to sources. The CEOs were called to attend a session and within a few hours it was all done with no prior rehearsals.
“When you are called, it could be difficult not to comply since it is the secretariat that called you. We have to oblige but we really did not know it was going to be a campaign slogan. This is really unfortunate that it has turned out like this.
“We were surprised when we found out it was a party slogan but it had already been done and what can we do, we are in the picture,’’ said another CEO.
Not all CEOs who were invited took part in the video. Prior engagements were the reason used for declining to appear.