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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Najib and the pirate ship Umno: Can he be saved and what for?

Najib and the pirate ship Umno: Can he be saved and what for?

The latest Merdeka Centre opinion poll has been nothing short of a political Tsunami for Prime Minister Najib Razak and his UMNO party. The steep 6 percentage point plunge in his popularity rating to 59 percent in just three months is an eye-opener and has already sparked debate within his party, the BN coalition and Malaysians across the country as well.

Among the first to rush to Najib's defense has been the son of former long-time MIC president S Samy Vellu. Central Working Committee member Vell Paari has asked MIC to reconsider its position in Barisan Nasional if Najib is toppled from power by certain forces within Umno.

He said there was intense speculation that Najib is facing a challenge in UMNO. If this was true, Vell Paari urged MIC to defend Najib. “He is the best prime minister we have in terms of catering for the Indian community, so we must stand by him. We don’t know if the rumour is true but MIC must protect Najib against those who are working against the prime minister."

Kind to the Indians, cruel to the Chinese

Wow, really hats off to Vell Paari, for his noble suggestion. Yes, why not? After all Najib may be the better Prime Minister in terms of catering for the Indian community as compared with his predecessor, Abdullah Badawi. Despite being a very mild man, Pak Lah left the unfortunate legacy of jailing the Hindraf 5 under the Internal Security Act. It was Najib who released them when he took over in April 2009.

Then, there are allegations that Chua Soi Lek and Liow Tiong Lai are cosying up to DPM Muhyiddin Yassin in anticipation of Najib’s uncertain political survival. If it’s true then it would be very unethical of them. How can you desert your boss when the going gets tough? It is the tough that must get going, just like Mr Eveready said. But I guess this two political clowns are not that tough. Even the Chinese want to get rid of them.

It may also be that under the Najib administration, the Chinese were not only systemactically neglected but also sought out for abuse and humiliation. As Badawi was to Hindraf 5, Najib will leave the same bitter aftertaste with the Chinese. They may not like MCA but they like even less the totally wild and uncouth comments from the likes of Nazri Aziz, Najib's spokesman, who had described the MCA as an abused wife, with the abusive husband being UMNO! Frankly, even if Najib comes up 2Malaysia or 3Malaysia, they won't bother with him anymore.

Meanwhile, UMNO is lurking silently and dangerously like a pirate ship about to prod Najib off its gangplank. No one is admitting mutiny or the existence of any rifts - officially that is!. Insiders however claim that the party is split between two major and many minor camps. The main faction opposing Najib's is the one led by Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. Speculation is also rife that former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad is backing Muhyiddin in order to boost his son Mukhriz’s political fortunes. This is rather disconcerting if it is true and the final nail in Najib's coffin.

Fated, but fated to go right or fated to go wrong

But like him or hate him, as wife Rosmah Mansor has insisted, Najib was fated to be Prime Minister. Like his father, he was supposed to run this country and bring it to greater heights. Much faith and trust was placed upon him by the people, and 1Malaysia was warmly welcomed even though not many really understood its true meaning.

Everyone was shocked when things started to go wrong, but many people attributed it to unseen hands pulling the strings, while a helpless Najib looked on in horror, unable to address the situation. After riding a short-sghted and short-lived high from the Perak power grab, it was downhill all the way for Najib. The way the Malaysian courts bent their interpretations of the Federal Constitution to suit his will still sends a shudder across the nation. It was also the final straw as far as quality FDI was concerned. Who would ever trust such an administration, and on hindsight, it really was a stupendously stupid move.

Then Perkasa started to make its run. Racial and religious strife grew, allegations of electoral fraud boosed enormously by 'I help you, you help me' proclamations went viral, and the gradual but inevitable death of 1Malaysia sealed Najib's faith. These factors chopped down his popularity and when Bersih came, his administration was all but over. Even in Facebook, a mock-up Muhyiddin Administration 2012 is already easily available.

But let's look at Vell Paari again. He has said that Najib is a blessing to MIC and probably a blessing to the Malays and UMNO as well, although he may not have done much for the Chinese. So, does 2 out of 3 show that he still has more good in him than bad? And also, what makes Vell an authority on UMNO? Many UMNO insiders say no matter what, they want Najib gone and a fresh beginning is the only way forward for their party.

Will Najib play fair with the people

Whether Muhyiddin can be considered a fresh beginning is another issue, but the anti-Najib and anti-Rosmah sentiment in UMNO is now really fierce and those who don't admit it or wish to take note of it, do so at their own risk.

Even if we were to give Vell a chance and supported Najib, how are we supposed to effect that? Are we going to go against our conscience and give him our votes? Are we going to forgive him for all his past flip-flops? Are we going to close one eye on the many allegations against him? And the Scorpenes hearing is coming up this month!

Vell is now looking at me with reproachful eyes ... Iskandar, you are not trying hard enough! So, okay, let's show Najib some attentiveness and agree with everything the PM says. We will keep reminding him to keep his word, and to repay us, he must ensure that reforms are in place before the next general election is held. And that there is peace and harmony by keeping the barking dogs at bay. That would be one way for him to redeem himself and go down in history as the man who helped turn Malaysia into a functional democracy.

But would he? Or would he play us out to cosy up to his pals in UMNO? Your answer is probably the same as mine. So the best thing to do is que sera sera. Let what will be, will be. After all, Najib could have done so much for us, but didn't.

The same goes for Muhyiddin. Don't expect Malaysians to turn sentimental, they will rate you on hard facts and achievements. So think twice before you make a dash for the UMNO hot seat.

Most importantly, all this talk will be useless if Pakatan wins GE-13 and Anwar goes on to be Prime Minister. Then all the PM-wannabes will probably stay at home and watch TV, or make a beeline to join the Pakatan parties or jostle for the post of Opposition Leader of the BN in Parliament.

- Malaysia Chronicle

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