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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

AdilanClub: Panicky Dr M tells Najib to hold GE-13 "NOW" before Umno burns all its chances

Sulaiman Kamal | 4:37 AM | | | Best Blogger Tips

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Fearing Prime Minister Najib Razak might pull another major U-turn, former premier Mahathir Mohamad has rushed to assure that holding the 13th general election as early as possible - "even now" - was the right decision, as instances of tension and citizens' discontent flare up in the country.

"Mahathir is now feeling very nervous, even panicky I would say. It is clear the tide won't turn.There is no salvation for Umno-BN and the longer Najib procrastinates, the better the chances for the Opposition to win,"PKR vice president Chua Jui Meng told Malaysia Chronicle..

Taking care to praise Najib, who has been slammed for ineptness and poor judgement, Mahathir who had previously said it was alright to delay until the very last day - which would be in March 2013 - now changed his tune as it became clear that the longer Najib sat on the decision, the more difficult it would be for their coalition to win.

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"I think it won't be too long into the future because there isn't much time left; we only have until middle of next year. If we think we can win, we can call the election," Mahathir told reporters on Sunday.

Even NOW is a good time

The corruption-tainted Mahathir is among those who have most to lose should the ruling Umno-BN coalition crash out to the Pakatan Rakyat led by Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim in GE-13 - widely forecast to be held by mid-June this year.

The vindictive Mahathir had withdrawn his support for Umno compatriot, former premier Abdullah Badawi, in the 2008 general election. Such a move helped him to best Badawi in Umno's internal power struggle but it also boosted - to an extent -  the Pakatan's chances in wresting 5 of the country's 13 states and denying the BN its long-held two-thirds majority.

Contrary to expectations, the Pakatan has since grown from strength to strength as Malaysians rejected corruption and plumbed even more for change and reform.

Conscious of this, the 86-year-old Mahathir is now careful not to rock the BN's boat this time around and has been sending signals in public to the less-astute Najib on when to dissolve Parliament.

"If the people give us a good support, that's the time to call the election. Even now, it looks good," said Mahathir.

Bersih 3.0-Himpunan Hijau and students protest

Current environmental issues
Since taking over from Abdullah Badawi in 2009, Najib has sent the country on a downtrend economically, socially and politically. Component parties in his Umno-dominated BN coalition have lost further ground, with MCA, Gerakan and MIC facing near-certain annihilation at the ballot boxes.

Umno itself is widely expected to test its 1999 results where it won only 71 seats in Parliament versus the overall BN tally of 147. In 2008, it won only 79 - a far cry from 2004's 109.

There is fear that the politically-timid Najib might seize on two key events currently in play to dodge holding GE-13 by mid-year, prompting Mahathir to publicly call for polls to be held as soon as possible.

The two events are the April 28 Bersih 3.0 rally for free and fair election to be held jointly with Himpunan Hijau 3.0's anti-Lynas rare earth refinery protest, plus a students' demonstration that began on Saturday and which is still continuing. The youths are refusing to leave their Dataran Merdeka venue despite having their tents dismantled by the authorities.

Bailouts for the rich, toll and loans for the poor

Amid corruption scandals and billionaire tycoons being allowed to write off huge loans to the tune of billions by the BN government, the students are demanding free tertiary education for all Malaysian citizens .

They also want the abolishment of study loans under the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN), which commits students to almost a life-time of loan repayment.

"Tell the PTPTN borrowers why Tajudin's RM589 million debt can be written off but in contrast, they are hunted down," PAS deputy president Mat Sabu had said over the weekend, referring for former Malaysia Airline chief Tajudin Ramli.

Najib's government has dismissed such calls, and accused those who insisted on free education of being ungrateful and irresponsible, while Mahathir has rushed to blame Anwar for sowing the idea for PTPTN.

"Anwar was sacked from Umno in 1998 and was jailed until 2004 because of trumped-up charges to stop his political rise. The way PTPTN has been developed was never what Anwar envisioned. It became a millstone because of Mahathir," PKR MP for Batu Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.

"Mahathir wanted to spend the nation's money on mega-projects, hence the tolled roads and students' loans. Nothing was free, the citizens had to pay their own way on basic essentials like transport and education. It was Anwar who wanted financial prudence and fairer wealth distribution and it was exactly because of this - for being their party pooper - that Mahathir and Daim Zainuddin threw him in jail."

Umno needs to 'rely on vote-rigging' to win GE-13

n 2004, buoyed by the departure of 'dictator'-leader Mahathir Mohamad, Abdullah Badawi had scored a near landslide for the BN winning 198 seats out of Parliament's 219. Umno's contribution was 109.

However, partly due to infighting and sniping from Mahathir, which he himself recently admitted, Badawi could only salvage 79 seats for Umno  in 2008. The BN as a whole could only wrest 140 out of Parliament's 222 seats, thereby losing the coalition's long-held two-thirds majority.

In 1999 as a result of Mahathir sacking Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, who was then the Umno deputy president, Umno could only win 71 seats while the BN as a whole took 147 seats out of Parliament's 192.

"Umno won't be able to perform well with so many scandals going on. There is the RM250 million NFC corruption scandal, Nazri's son's assault case, the Tajudin bailout, Najib's continued endorsement of Shahrizat Jalil despite the NFC case, the bailout of the expressways, Rosmah Mansor's diamond ring - so many dirty and dubious deals," PAS MP for Kuala Krai Hatta Ramli told Malaysia Chronicle.

"It is no secret that the longer BN delays, the worst are its chances. It can only rely on vote rigging and a falsified electoral roll and this is why it fears April 28, when the people will rally together and demand for clean ad fair elections."


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