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From media limelight, Saiful now works behind the scenes

UMNO AGM After his own dark episodes in the limelight and brush with media scrutiny, former political aide to jailed ex-opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, Saiful Bukhari Azlan now trains other people how to handle journalists and conduct themselves in politics.

Met on the sidelines of the ongoing Umno AGM at the Putra World Trade Centre today, Saiful who was tending a stall selling the products of his wife's textile company, related that the nascent media and political consultation firm owned by the couple is two years old.

Named after his wife Nik Suryani Megat Deraman, whom he married in May 2013, the 31-year-old Saiful said that the consultation start-up Nang Surya, has serviced 20 clients thus far.

Saiful said that when it comes to their stable of clientele, politics do not get in they way, as they are willing to work with those from both side of the political divide.

"We are quite new, we have about 20 clients, mostly elected representatives.

"They are from both sides. We are bi-partisan," he said.

Saiful explained that the joint venture with his wife plays to their strengths, as Nik Suryani is a former journalist and well versed on instructing people how to face the media, having been on the other side herself.

"My wife has 15 years of experience in journalism. And she also conducts training for eminent personalities.

"We provide consultation services on how to hold press conferences, issue statements, and how to answer provocative questions from reporters," he explained.

Saiful said they also have their own research team that collaborates with universities and pollsters, which they can use to measure and poll sentiments of grassroots for example.

Nik Suryani who was with Saiful explained further what their consultation service provides.

"Based on my 15 years of experience, we can advise them on how to sit, and also how to anticipate what journalists want.

"Even if answers are short, it must be in proper sentences, no need to drag on. So those kind of things (we provide to clients)," she said, smiling.

Eight years ago, Saiful made headlines when he accused Anwar, then his boss and opposition leader, of sodomising him.

Anwar had been sentenced to five years' imprisonment, after being found guilty of the crime.

Though Anwar and his supporters continue to maintain his innocence and claim that this was a high level conspiracy against him.

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