PETALING JAYA: Controversial political consultation firm Cambridge Analytica (CA) allegedly pitched a proposal to Umno to influence the voting of 40 parliamentary constituencies in the 14th General Election (GE14), according to leaked files.
The files, unveiled by former CA business development director Britanny Kaiser, includes a document on the email correspondence between several people in Oct 2016, including SCL South-East Asia’s director Azrin Zizal.
SCL Group was the parent group of CA.
The correspondence claimed that former Umno secretary general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor assigned an aide, Datuk Seri Aminudin Mustafa, to engage with representatives of the SCL Group representatives on Oct 10,2016, to discuss the proposal.
Azrin supposedly set up the meeting, according to the email thread.
Umno supposedly requested CA to prepare a proposal for Barisan Nasional to retain the parliamentary seats of Arau, Pendang, Jerai, Kulim Bandar Baru, Ketereh, Machang, Bagan Serai, Kuala Kangsar, Telok Intan, Balik Pulau, Cameron Highland, Bentong, Bera, Sungai Besar, Hulu Selangor, Kuala Selangor, Setiawangsa, Titiwangsa, Segamat, Labis, Ledang, Muar, Tebrau, Pasir Gudang, Pulai, Kota Marudu and Beaufort.
The seats that Barisan were reported looking to regain were Alor Setar, Bachok, Pasir Putih, Kuala Krai, Kuala Nerus, Bukit Gantang, Temerloh, Gombak, Sepang, Lembah Pantai, Telok Kemang, Batu Pahat and Sandakan.
In GE14, Barisan retained six seats – Arau, Ketereh, Machang, Kuala Kangsar, Cameron Highlands, and Bera.
Other files indicated that former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi was to have a breakfast meeting with SCL Group representatives in New York during the Concordia Summit in September 2016.
The leaked files were uploaded on Jan 1 via Twitter on the account @HindsightFiles.
They were to reveal the details of CA's activities during the 2016 US elections, Brexit, as well as the company's involvement in elections and other large-scale data-mining operations around the world.
The document release included previously unreleased emails, project plans, case studies, negotiations and more spanning 65 countries.
“In the name of shedding light on these dark practices, I am releasing documents and emails in full for the public good. I do this to strengthen the case for data rights and enforcement of our electoral laws online globally," said Kaiser, who worked in the firm from 2014 to 2018, in a statement.
“We should all be seeking a more ethical digital future for ourselves and our children, ” she added.
Cambridge Analytica was the London-based political consulting firm accused of extracting the personal data of up to 50 million Facebook users without consent to help Donald Trump in his US presidential campaign in 2016.
The Barisan Nasional government had in March 2018 claimed that it had never engaged Cambridge Analytica and its parent company SCL Group in any way.
A statement by the Prime Minister's Office then said that contrary to media reports, neither Cambridge Analytica nor its parent company SCL Group had ever been contracted, employed or paid in any way by Barisan Nasional, the Prime Minister's Office or any part of the government of Malaysia.