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Monday, July 18, 2011

Najib: I don't want to be PM for a moment if I don't have the people's support

Sulaiman Kamal | 3:40 AM | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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Rounding off a controversial 4-day official visit to the UK, Prime Minister Najib Razak tried to allay concerns that he would cling to power at all costs, declaring he would step down immediately if he did not have the support of the people.
But it is doubtful if he managed to convince many that he would not resort to further violence in the near future.


“If you are still unhappy with the Government, let's square it out in the elections and let the people decide. It is my sacred duty as a leader to protect the lives of the people and property," Star reported Najib as saying on Saturday.
“I don't want to be the Prime Minister for one moment if I do not have the support of the people."
No new reforms, same old party line
Najib had stunned his nation with a bizarre string of decisions that ended with unpredented police violence against a civilians march for and free elections on July 9. It also sparked concern amongst the international community.
The US, UN and even influential quarters in the UK have chided him, urging the continuance of democratic practises in Malaysia such as the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and speech.
"As I speak, there are rallies daily by the opposition all over the country and they have the space to express themselves," said Najib.
“It is unfair to say that we do not have democracy in Malaysia. If there is no democracy, they would not have won five states in the last election."
Critics however point out that he was just repeating the party line, and not committing or announcing any new resolve for reforms as they had hoped he would in the aftermath of last week's police brutality that left thousands injured and one dead.
"If the electoral system was just a bit fairer, the opposition would have won the federal government and not just 5 states. After putting the country through so much just because of his paranoia for clean polls, we are disguested with his response. Basically, he is just denying everything and if anyone were to believe he would really step down without a fight, they would be fools," PAS MP for Kuala Selangor Dzulkefly Ahmad told Malaysia Chronicle.
Bizarre
The Najib administration’s suppression of the July 9 rally has drawn widespread condemnation from global media.
The UK's Guardian compared Najib's BN coalition to ousted Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak’s regime. The Wall Street Journal in its Tuesday edition also described Najib's response to the Bersih 2.0 rally as creating an environment of "fear and repression" in Malaysia.
In a bid to stamp out dissent, Najib had indeed concocted bizarre charges against the most unlikely foes including accusations of Communist insurgency and waging war against the King by minnow socialist party PSM.
His cousin, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein also outlawed Bersih in a desperate bid to scare away Malaysians from joining the rally. Both Najib and Hisham blame arch rival Anwar Ibrahim for stirring up the trouble.
But despite their all-out efforts to make the rally illegal, including ordering a lockdown on the city, tens of thousands of Malaysians converged braving tear gas, chemicalized water canons and police beatings.
Nearly 1,700 people were arrested on July 9. At least 6 people, arrested in the runup to the rally, remain in remand without trial.
Pundits now predict a grim future for the Najib and his BN. Few expect them to really heed the call for electoral reforms seriously as this will only ensure a lacklustre win or perhaps even a loss for BN in the next general election.


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