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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Back to the wall, Najib tries to re-invent himself as the "best of the worst"

Sulaiman Kamal | 11:18 AM | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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Malaysia’s emerging first world economy, despite the wishful thinking of Prime Minister Najib Razak, who doubles up as Finance minister, is no longer a factor that the ruling Barisan Nasional can constantly harp on at the hustings.
If the 58-year old Najib were to boast about the economy in purchasing power parity terms, the man on the street would fire back at how expensive life has become. And for Najib to argue would not only be a futile exercise, it would also be a dumb move.
Straightaway, it would set up the backs of the ordinary folk who feel the pulse of the economy from their ragged PVC wallets, and not the thick tomes of numbers that only make sense when compared with similarly sized and stressed nations.

The desperados in Umno and their pet poodles like Perkasa, among others, are not above twisting and turning every issue in the country into a racial and religious one to pit the people against each other. The master gameplan is to scare the Malays, the heartland in particular, into circling the wagons and gathering under only one political platform i.e. Umno.
Meanwhile, in the country’s tumultuous politics of distraction and disruption, the plunder of the public treasury continues unabated as the ruling elite accumulate capital in the same manner that the colonialists had done in the past, filling their already burgeoning war chest.
Best of the Worst or the Worst Ever?
As the date of the next General Election draws nearer, Pakatan appears more determined than ever to drive the BN, in particular Umno, into political oblivion. Since the 2008 General Election, Umno appears to have transformed into a right-wing fringe organisation with shades of the Nazi Party under Adolf Hitler. This is not an unfair accusation given the controversial politicking pursued by Najib's party, which includes Christian, Chinese and Jew bashing.
Beyond a penchant for delivering grandiose public speeches, Najib too has been a great disappointment even to his own tight-knit inner circle. There’s very little substance in the thunder, and his bluff-and-bluster is by now visibly a sham to many in the country. Still, all is not lost. There’s method in Najib’s “madness” save for the sword of Damocles, wielded by the ghost of slain Mongolian model Altantuya, hanging ominously over his head in a courtroom in Paris, the French capital.
Najib’s people now belatedly concede that no one, their master included, has the stature of the great leaders of the past to govern the country. However, this admission comes with a bizarre caveat: their man is the “best of the worst”, they claim. Obviously, the pious hope is that this newly-discovered “strength” will save the embattled Malaysian Prime Minister when the country goes to the polls again, which many expect will take place before the year is over.
But what worked in 2008 may not work anymore. Three years ago, when the Umno supreme council moved to punish Badawi for the bad GE results, the clarion cry across the party was that there is nobody else but Najib. How sad that a party with a tradition of more than 5 decades has to ask its members to pick for their president a man who has no better selling point than because "there is no one else".
For this man to now play it back to party members that they still have no choice because he is now the "best of the worst" is truly an insult. Yes, an insult of the highest degree.
Where are the results that he was duty-bound to achieve , where are the reforms, where are the outcomes, what happened to the promises and pledges? Can his claims stand up to the light of the day? Is it not more accurate to say that Najib is the "worst ever"?
The competition
The opposition alliance swears that they are all about bringing the people together. Both the Democratic Action Party and PAS, the Islamists, are incredibly strong on the ground and Parti Keadilan Rakyat has caught up fast.
Former Finance Minister and Kelantan Umno warlord, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, sensing a kill, has re-positioned himself for change through a new NGO, Amanah. Notable among his supporters is Najib's predecessor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and former deputy prime minister Musa Hitam.
Muhyiddin Yassin, Najib’s deputy who looks increasingly smart with a neater hair-cut and more modish attire, is likewise making a last-ditch attempt to steal the thunder from his boss.
But the man directly leading the charge is none other than former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. He’s impatient to see his son, Mukhriz Mahathir, pole-vault into the post currently held by Muhyiddin. That will certainly not happen unless Najib can be forced out and Muhyiddin kicked upstairs.
Mahathir’s problem is that Najib is no hurry to call a General Election for which he set a tall order: concede only Penang and Kelantan to the opposition – to maintain a semblance of free and fair elections – and win back the two-thirds majority in Parliament.
When Najib fails, as he’s expected to, Mahathir will hound him out of the Prime Minister’s chair, thanks to the Umno Supreme Council being at his beck and call. Mahathir’s little black book must be bulging with details on their sins of commission and omission.

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