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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Letak Jawatan Jika Tidak Memihak Kepada Najib



Selepas beberapa menteri dilaporkan mempersoalkan kemelut 1MDB, Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak dilaporkan telah meminta anggota kabinet untuk meletakkan jawatan jika mereka tidak bersama dengannya dalam perkara itu.

Utusan Malaysia dalam laporannya hari ini berkata, Najib memberi kata dua itu dalam mesyuarat kabinet Jumaat lalu, selepas Menteri Kewangan Kedua, Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah membentangkan pelan hala tuju 1MDB kepada kabinet.

Akhbar itu berkata portal dalam talian Malaysia-today.net juga melaporkan hal yang sama danUtusan memetik sumber kabinet sebagai berkata tidak seorang pun anggota kabinet yang menyatakan pendirian mereka tidak bersama Najib ketika diberi peluang berbuat demikian.

“Perdana menteri meminta mana-mana anggota Kabinet yang tidak bersama dengan beliau dalam isu 1MDB meletakkan jawatan tetapi tiada seorang pun berbuat demikian (menyatakan tidak bersama),” kata laporan Utusan itu.

Di bawah pelan rasionalisasi yang yang diumumkan oleh Husni (gambar),  International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) akan membayar hutang 1MDB sebanyak AS$975 juta (RM3.57 bilion) kepada sebuah konsortium perbankan antarabangsa yang menuntut pembayaran empat bulan lebih awal daripada jadual.

Perjanjian dengan IPIC dan anak syarikatnya Aabar, akan menyaksikan hutang 1MDB dikurangkan kira-kira RM3.5 bilion dalam masa kurang dari seminggu.

Transaksi tambahan - di mana butirannya akan dimuktamadkan pada minggu-minggu akan datang - akan mengurangkan hutang 1MDB antara RM12 bilion dan RM12.5 bilion.

Pada masa yang sama, dua pembangunan utama di bawah 1MDB - Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) dan Bandar Malaysia - akan digunakan untuk mengumpul dana dan membantu membayar hutang syarikat berkenaan.

- mkini

Conspicuous by his silence (2)



Are you still in Svartalfheim?

How about moving your bl**dy 6 o'clock on the matter of Chinese sinseh being unfairly disadvantaged by your lil' Napoleons?

just place the herbs in a bottle of xxx-brand Chinese wine which you can get from the many 'wines & spirits' shops in Selangor 

A FRAUD FROM BEGINNING TO END: Dr M to expose why Najib betrayed Ku Li in epic Umno battle

A FRAUD FROM BEGINNING TO END: Dr M to expose why Najib betrayed Ku Li in epic Umno battle
It’s impossible to talk about something else, without touching politics of the day. The politics I mean involves 1MDB, an issue which will never subside until the perpetrators of this scandal are punished.
There was fraud from the beginning. The JV with Petro Saudi was an act to swindle money from Malaysia. It would appear that people in 1MDB made that fraud possible. That would suggest complicity.
Money was paid into a shell company. Money was transferred into an account belonging to another person. The amount was slightly more than USD1 billion.
The amount made the earth moved under somebody’s feet. From then on, in an attempt to cover up, more financial holes were created that got 1MDB into deeper shit. The earth was indeed moved when more holes were dug.
I hear some accountants say the value of the assets owned by 1MDB is around RM20 billion only and never got close to RM51 billion as claimed. The figures were massaged to make them appear comforting.
The liabilities- loans, bonds, derivative loans amount to RM49billion. If that is so, then, 1MDB is really RM30 billion in the red. The value of its assets if fully liquidated can never cover the loss. In the end, the government will have to bail it out.
1MDBcannot shake off the perception that it’s now insolvent. It claims it has assets but yet cannot repay its loans. How can it service its interests on loans that many amount to RM2 billion a year? Will it able to honour the value of its bonds when they mature?
Clearly, the PM as the final authority over 1MDB’s transactions is panicking. He will not cause this problem to go away by listing out the wrongs created by Mahathir. He should know two wrongs do not make a right.
He is equally liable over what Mahathir did because he was also on the ship that Mahathir commanded. He too made hay while the Mahathir sun shone.
He helped Mahathir win the 1987 battle with Tengku Razaleigh because he had no choice. Mahathir had one up on him and I am sure in the days to come, Mahathir will expose why Najib betrayed Tengku Razaleigh at the last minute.
He is not fooling the people any longer. The wrongs created by 1MDB will never be erased even if Jho Low returned the money or if the PM forces GLCs to buy 1MDB’s assets at overpriced values, or sell down 1MDB’s assets. These after the fact measures will never erase wrongdoings, embezzlement, CBTs and all that.
Let’s take an example. When Felda bought over hotels in London by paying an extra RM100 million, that overpayment is not excused by saying- don’t worry, the cost including that extra RM100 million has been recovered as a result of better business. The hotel business is booming and revenue is increasing.
Even if all the cost is recovered, the fact that RM100 million was artificially created clearly with the intention to defraud Felda, the wrongful act, will not go away. Fraud was committed and it’s not erased by later events. If business if good, then it’s fortuitous.
Same as in the case of 1MDB. Fraud, embezzlement, cheating, dishonest dealings are not erased even when all the total costs are recovered.
I hope these people understand all these. Wrongs are not corrected by after the fact fortuitous events and deceptive measures.
It appears that this is what is happening at the very moment. The Arabs which 1MDB paid off to forfeit their option to buy up to 49% of businesses to be listed by 1MDB now becomes the white knight to help 1MDB? The second finance minister has no shame to announce that help has come from this white knight.
Then we urge him to be brave and tell the public the terms and conditions of the help given by the Arabs. Which arm and leg do we give up? The terms and conditions can be expected to be onerous since having paid off the ah long, it seems they are the only financier willing to touch 1MDB which has since become a leper. Surely they will demand more onerous terms since they know that 1MDB has no one else and 1MDB is in distress!
Arul Kanda may have disappeared for a few days running back to his former employers, asking for help while denigrating Najib and the stupid Malaysians at the same time.
JHo Low was probably in town to meet up PM Najib to tell the latter that he is making steps to reimburse the money he has taken. That will allow PM to later declare that he has fully recovered the money that went to Good Star Limited.
Let’s talk about other important issues. Such as the much hyped 11 Malaysia Plan. -http://sakmongkol.blogspot.com/

WHY DRAG ANWAR INTO NAJIB'S SURVIVAL: Undercurrents shift in Dr M-Najib power tussle?

WHY DRAG ANWAR INTO NAJIB'S SURVIVAL: Undercurrents shift in Dr M-Najib power tussle?
Cynical A Kadir Jasin has offered 6 steps to Prime Minister Najib Razak to sustain his position at a time when Dr Mahathir Mohamad is apparently running out of ammunition to urge the Prime Minister to step down. One of the steps, however appears to be too much.
Kadir's 4th step was to ”Hire a writer who could write a good hoax letter to bad mouth about Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad with the opposition leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim contributing some content and in return, Anwar to be awarded with freedom for few days from the prison” which seems to be below the belt.
It is not right for Kadir to involve Anwar’s name even if it is meant to be cynical towards Najib Razak. When Kadir involves Anwar, it indirectly sends a message that Anwar is nothing better than the hoax letter writers. Those people are cowards, hypocrites and do not have morale and this is not Anwar.
Why belittle Anwar who had long ago spurned Dr M's offer to go into exile
Kadir’s suggestion that in order to return the favour, Anwar should be freed from the prison reflects badly on Anwar. He should not attack Najib at the expense of jeopardizing Anwar. I feel that Anwar does not need to be used as a tool in order to be freed. He is more responsible. If Anwar wanted to be free and safe through that way, he would have done that long ago.
He would have done it during Mahathir’s time itself. Is Kadir not aware about Mahathir’s offer to Anwar where he asked Anwar to move abroad and stay away from disrupting his administration? If Anwar had obeyed that, he would have lived a peaceful life now.
But Anwar chose to be in prison instead of being used by Mahathir and Najib. He sacrificed himself for the people and revealed all the injustices done by Mahathir.
Hopefully Kadir will be more careful in the future when he is being cynical and not involve people who have nothing or little to do with the matter just to topple Najib.
Cabinet reshuffle & emergency rule
Apart from that, still in cynical mode, Kadir suggested to Najib that he can sustain his power by reshuffling the cabinet. Kadir suggested that Najib should remove those who do not support him such as his own deputy, Muhyiddin Yassin and Minster of Rural Development and Federal Territory, Shafie Apdal.
He also suggested that Najib should appoint Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as his deputy prime minister, and Hishamuddin Hussein, his cousin as the Minister of Finance.
Kadir also added that Najib should be the Home Minister so that he could declare emergency easily if there is a vote of confidence motion proposed in the Parliament.

He further suggested that Najib should replace the Attorney General, Gani Patail with UMNO’s lawyer, Mohd Hafarizan Harun.
The last step to rescue Najib is regarding easing the financial burden of 1MDB. which Kadir suggested that Najib asks a favour from businessman, Jho Low to manage the investment of the country with his Arabic friends. - MAILBAG
TRANSLATED BY P DINESWERI
CLICK HERE TO THE ORIGINAL VERSION IN MALAY  Kadir Jasin tidak patut babitkan Anwar dalam siniskalnya kepada Najib

Irate passenger records AirAsia staff manhandling luggage

Video clip shows two employees carelessly hurling passengers’ bags and boxes into a waiting loading compartment.
VIDEO INSIDE
mas
KUCHING: Facebook user Wong Kee Hock has taken to social media to express his disgust at the way baggage handlers of AirAsia threw his luggage around, resulting in some of his belongings ending up broken.
The trainee at Hilton Kuching was shocked at the unprofessional handling of passengers’ baggage before his AK775 flight from Kuching to Singapore took off and decided to record it for the “world to see”.
The 1.39-minute video clip showed two employees at work, with one carelessly hurling passengers’ luggage and boxes into a waiting loading compartment.
Wong, incensed at his broken belongings due to the rough handling, advised fellow passengers to keep any fragile items they were taking on their trips as carry-on luggage instead of checking-in these items and leaving them at the hands of negligent baggage handlers.
“This is how AIR ASIA STAFF THROW the luggage…my thing (sic) are broken..i myself record this for the eyes of world to see.”
“Keep ur (sic) fragile belonging with u better.”
The post, at the time of writing, had been viewed by over 400,000 Facebook users.
One of the irate passenger’s amused friends noted: “Hock, this video whole Malaysia sharing ahh.. Lol.”
With Wong’s intent on gaining widespread attention the reason behind uploading this video, he was quick to reply, saying, “Yup..let these people famous lo…make it Malaysia to international..lol.”
My flight AK 775 from kuching to singapore...this is how AIR ASIA STAFF THROW the lugagge...my thing are broken..i...
Posted by Wong Kee Hock on Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wanita Umno against RM1,200 wage for domestic maids

They already get free meals and a place to stay, says Shahrizat
maid
KUALA LUMPUR: Wanita Umno is opposed to a proposal to raise the minimum wage of domestic servants to RM1,200 a month, its leader, Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, said today.
She said many Malaysian families could not afford to pay that much.
Sharizat said the proposal was “unreasonable” considering that RM1,200 would exceed the statutory minimum wage for Malaysian workers.
Furthermore, she added, domestic maids enjoyed several benefits not available to other workers, such as free meals and a place to stay.
“We in Wanita Umno are clearly against the proposal,” Shahrizat told reporters covering the launch of Pasarnita, a government initiative to encourage entrepreneurship among women.
She said she would appeal to the government to negotiate further with Indonesian authorities.
In his statement on Friday, the Indonesian Embassy’s deputy chief of mission Hermono, said the wages Indonesian maids were getting in Malaysia were lower than what their counterparts were getting in other countries.

TRAFFICKING AND THE TPP: WHY ARE THE GRAVES BEING UNCOVERED NOW?

najibamatpp
(Rakyat Times) – The same Najib who implied that ‘human rights’ is a liberal invention, suddenly made Malaysia into the most compassionate of big three Asean countries—Thailand and Indonesia being the others—who were involved in this mess.
The IGP slipped.
Recently, Khalid Abu Bakar told journalists in Perlis that police had no prior knowledge about the mass graves and human trafficking activity along the Thai-Malaysian border.
Later, in the same press conference, he let slip that “everyone knows about human smuggling and trafficking in that area and that police had not been sitting idle, doing nothing.” Clearly, Khalid knew his mistake. His proud feathers ruffled, he began to get angry with the journalists present, saying that he was bored of answering questions.
But aside from Khalid’s ineptitude, of which we already know, if we go on the assumption that police had long known about the mass graves and trafficking, what then compelled the sudden need to sweep the border villages in Perlis for graves and bust syndicates?
The mass graves and death camps on the other side of the border were discovered on May 1. Twenty-six bodies were found.
The Home Ministry denied that were Malaysian equivalents, and that the majority of people smuggled across the border are economic migrants, and not trafficking victims. NGOs said that the refugees they met told stories of being kept in similar safe houses before being sold as slave labour.
Thai police kept discovering graves. The trafficking crew began deserting their smuggling boats soon after.
Meanwhile, the Rohingya and Bangladeshi refugees and migrants aboard the smuggling ships were left starving and adrift at sea.
Malaysia had taken in 1,018 of these ‘boat people’ after one such ship got stuck on a breakwater, but said it would restock and send away other ships unless they were sinking.
Back to the graves. Thai and Malaysian police busted seven syndicates on May 12. 38 were arrested, including 16 Malaysians—two of whom were cops.
tra2Back to the boat people. After Malaysia made it known that it was no longer taking in refugees, the usual muscular rhetoric was heard. Provided, of course, by Zahid Hamidi.
While doing what he does best—wearing loud shirts and pointing at things in masculine fashion—he said Malaysia had no choice but to turn the refugees away.
“What do you expect us to do? You want to welcome them to Malaysia? You can if you want to. I am asking you what you expect us to do?”
Zahid also said: “If there are non-governmental organisations that are willing to send aid, we welcome them. They can send aid to the Immigration Department in Alor Star, Kedah. From there, the aid will be sent to the detention depots, namely the one in Belantik,” referring to the 1,018 refugees who were placed there.
Oddly enough, Belantik turned away some DAP members who had done exactly that just the day before.
Prime minister Najib Razak, meanwhile, did as expected, and waffled about finding an ‘Asean solution’.
“We respect the Asean principles whereby we do not interfere with the internal affairs of any Asean countries. However, when a certain problem has spread and affects the leadership of other Asean nations and possibly those outside Asean, then we need to find solutions through an Asean forum and cooperate with other parties,” he said.
And then an about turn.
Putrajaya, who seemed adamant on not officially taking in any more refugees, and who had previously been diplomatic to a fault towards Yangon, suddenly looked like they cared.
After foreign minister Anifah Aman had met Indonesian and Thai officials, Malaysia announced it would take in the refugees at sea.
Anifah even managed to arrange a meeting with Myanmar to discuss the “irregular movement of people, human trafficking and people smuggling”. This is the same Myanmar who had threatened to skip a regional meet if Thailand even mentioned the word ‘Rohingya.’
The rhetoric was still respectful, but Malaysia was suddenly pushing Myanmar for a solution.
tra3Then on May 24, police found the graves in Perlis. The Home Minister expressed his shock (incidentally, he also said the camps had been around for years).
Yesterday, Najib pledged to nab the “masterminds” of trafficking syndicates. The same Najib who implied that ‘human rights’ is a liberal invention, suddenly made Malaysia into the most compassionate of big three Asean countries—Thailand and Indonesia being the others—who were involved in this mess.
So why the sudden change of heart?
Two things involving Malaysia were happening in the US at almost exactly the same time.
First. Obama was pushing for fast-track authority in the US Senate. Fast-track authority would, among others, prevent US Congress from altering the terms of trade deals after they have been signed. Chiefly, Obama wanted fast-track to expedite the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement.
He was initially denied by his own fellow Democrats, who, in a moment of lucidity, recognised that what they had heard about the multilateral TPP would only help American corporations, but destroy the American labour market.
Why exactly TPP is probably one of the most catastrophic and downright evil trade deals ever thought up has been discussed before. But a short recap. One of the chief aims of the TPP is regulatory harmonisation, which will allow big multinational corporations to not be subject local laws in the countries that are involved in negotiations. Including Malaysia.
If Malaysia insists on enforcing laws—for instance, the Employment Act or the Environmental Act—to curtail the errant practices of these corporations, then they can argue that their profits are being harmed, and drag the Malaysian government to international court. And most likely win.
Second. In the midst of Obama trying to convince his fellow Democrats to give him fast-track authority, an inconspicuous and expertly crafted anti-slavery bill was put forth by the Democratic senator for New Jersey, Robert Menendez.
Menendez’ bill said that the US should not fast-track any trade deal that involves countries with atrocious trafficking records. He meant the TPP, and he meant Malaysia.
Although not saying as much, it seems as if Menendez found in Malaysia a weak spot among the TPP negotiating countries that could be used to derail the entire trade deal.
This is because in 2014, Malaysia was infamously relegated to Tier 3 of the US State Department’s own Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report. Importantly, what led to the relegation was not just that human trafficking occurred in Malaysia, but also that the Malaysian government was doing nothing to put a stop to it.
tra4“In the 2012 and 2013 Trafficking in Persons Reports, Malaysia was granted consecutive waivers from an otherwise required downgrade to Tier 3 on the basis of a written plan to bring itself into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.
“The Trafficking Victims Protection Authorization Act (TVPA) authorizes a maximum of two consecutive waivers. A waiver is no longer available to Malaysia, which is therefore deemed not to be making significant efforts to comply with the minimum standards and is placed on Tier 3,” the TIP report said.
So Obama was left with a conundrum. What could he do? Option 1 would be to kill Menendez’ bill, but a Democratic president convincing Democrats to vote down an anti-slavery bill would look bad. Nobody wants to be that guy.
Option 2 would be to bump Malaysia up on the TIP list, which would possibly look worse. Plus, since Malaysia had boatloads of Rohingya and Bangladeshi refugees and migrants drifting on the Andaman Sea at the time, and since the issue had made—and dominated—international headlines, there could be no more inopportune moment to remove Malaysia from Tier 3 of TIP.
Option 3 would be to ‘soften’ the language of the bill. Menendez had agreed to do that before presenting the bill to the US Senate. So instead of excluding Malaysia from TPP outright because of its trafficking record, the bill would allow Malaysia to remain in talks as long as it made “significant efforts” to curtail trafficking activity.
This would probably include “significant efforts” like saving the boat people. It would also probably include “significant efforts” like busting trafficking syndicates and arresting a few henchmen after the ‘sudden’ discovery of mass graves.
Menendez somehow included his bill whole, without the aforementioned ‘softening’, when the Senate went in for the first round of voting. But in all likelihood, it will be softened eventually, voted on again, and passed.
This would mean that Malaysia will only have to be perceived as trying to stop trafficking to allow TPP talks to continue unhindered (and if we have learned anything from Pemandu, it is that perception is greater than reality).
International trade minister Mustapa Mohamed said as much. “Regarding our Tier 3 position on human trafficking, this could be resolved if a Tier 3 country is seen to be taking concrete steps to implement recommendations in the Trafficking in Persons report.”
Also, US assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration Anne Richard is (at the time of writing) in Kuala Lumpur, promising that the US Navy will conduct daily surveillance flights out of Subang Airport to locate migrant boats.
“We will continue conducting flights as necessary to help provide support to regional governments as they work to rescue those stranded at sea and provide humanitarian assistance to vulnerable migrants in the region,” Richard said, adding that the US State Department supports Malaysia, along with Thailand, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Myanmar in their efforts to address the plight of the stranded migrants in the Andaman Sea.
It is not, therefore, beyond the realm of plausibility that Malaysia is only putting on a temporary show of making “significant efforts” to stop trafficking, so as to please the US and not wreck the TPP.
We are, after all, the country that kicked an 18-year-old out of the country to appease China, citing “national security” (in relation to that, since no one really knows how the US-China dispute in the Spratlys is going to turn out, it boggles the mind to see in what positions Malaysia will contort itself the next time a superpower says “dance”).
Meanwhile, expect business as usual with the young trafficked women who are duped, drugged, beaten, raped, and forced to service rich men getting their cheong on in your local brothel, spa, KTV lounge or massage parlour.
Like Najib said, maybe human rights is just an invention.

MAHATHIR GOING FOR ‘3-IN-1’

james-chin
James Chin, Malay Mail Online
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir continues to play “shadow puppet politics” from the sidelines as the ruling Umno faces another crisis of confidence.
In Malaysia, 3-in-1 refers to small sachets of coffee where all the three ingredients (coffee, whitener and sugar) are perfectly balanced. Add hot water and you should have a perfect cup of coffee.
Nowadays, 3-in-1 in Malaysia refers to the open campaign by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s longest serving prime minister (PM), to get rid of his hand-picked successor, Datuk Seri Najib Razak. If he succeeds, this will be the third PM Dr Mahathir has had a key role in deposing. The first victim was Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s first PM. Tunku’s political career was effectively over in 1969 when Dr Mahathir published an open letter to Tunku. The letter blamed Tunku for that year’s May 13th riots in Malaysia, in particular Tunku’s supposedly soft approach to the Chinese community. Although Dr Mahathir was expelled from the United Malays National Organisation (Umno) for the letter, within a few months, Tunku lost all his power to his deputy, Tun Abdul Razak, who later became Malaysia’s second PM. Mahathir was also readmitted into Umno. Razak was also the father of Najib Razak, Malaysia’s current PM.
When DrMahathir stepped down in 2003, he handpicked the incoming PM and his deputy. Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was chosen for the top job and Najib became the deputy. By 2007, Dr Mahathir was openly calling for Badawi to resign. Dr Mahathir even resigned from the ruling Umno party, albeit temporarily, to show how serious he was. His unrelenting attacks on Badawi caused the ruling coalition to lose its two-thirds majority in the 2008 general elections. Badawi resigned and Najib took over in 2009.
Now six years down the road, Mahathir is looking for his third political scalp. He openly calls on Najib to step down; otherwise, in his own words “Umno will lose the next election”. So why is Dr Mahathir so confident that he can push Najib out?
Firstly, Najib cannot properly explain the financial scandal surrounding 1MDB. 1MDB, a government-owned holding company, is in debt to the tune of RM42 billion and the Malaysian government guarantees part of this debt. The popular suspicion is that Jho Low, a young Chinese tycoon with strong ties to Rosmah, Najib’s wife, siphoned off more than a billion US dollars from 1MDB. Najib has asked for an independent audit of 1MDB’s books but Dr Mahathir cannot wait. Another scandal Dr Mahathir is using against Najib is the Altantuya Shaariibuu affair. In 2006, one of Najib’s bodyguards killed Altantuya, a Mongolian who was trying to blackmail one of Najib’s close friends. The close friend was also the owner of a company that received a multi-million dollar contract from the Malaysian ministry of defence for a submarine deal with France. Najib’s fingerprints are on the deal as he was the defence minister when the deal was inked.
Secondly, Rosmah Mansor, Najib’s wife, is being targeted for her expensive taste in fashion (Birkin bags and jewels) and extravagant lifestyle. In the latest attack on Rosmah, Dr Mahathir claims that the wedding of Najib’s daughter was “the wedding of the century” with the flower arrangements alone costing millions. Rosmah’s son from an earlier marriage is also under scrutiny for his role in the making of the hit-film “Wolf of Wall Street”. There are hints that money from 1MDB ended up as seed funding for the film.
Third, the recently introduced 6 per cent GST has not gone down well with the Malay grassroots. The government’s explanation that some goods will actually become cheaper is widely ridiculed. Many shops have increased their goods and services by more than 6 per cent to compensate for the complex accounting system and the opportunity to make an extra buck.
Can Dr Mahathir succeed?
The chattering class in Kuala Lumpur says Dr Mahathir and his allies are planning a showdown in the second half of this year. They are busy building support among the Umno grassroots and, more importantly, they are grooming Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to challenge Najib directly during the Umno party assembly at the end of this year. Thus far Muhyiddin has been coy about his plans. In public events, he supports Najib but at the same time he says Najib must answer to Dr Mahathir’s criticism. In Malay wayang-kulit (shadow puppet) politics, he is actually a fence sitter, suggesting that he wants a shot at the top job.
Muhyiddin’s biggest hurdle is his indecisiveness. Dr Mahathir wanted him to challenge Najib last year but he kept dithering until the momentum subsided.
Najib has gone public to say he will “never surrender” to Dr Mahathir. Unlike Badawi, Najib is a master wayang-kulit player in Malay politics. He has carefully rewarded his supporters financially via government contracts and posts. Unlike Badawi, Najib’s people have taken to the social media to attack Dr Mahathir. The only mud that will stick to Dr Mahathir is his own sins ― in this case blatant nepotism. Dr Mahathir’s son is Kedah chief minister and there is little doubt that he owes this position to his famous father. He is still in the post despite consensus that he is under-performing. Dr Mahathir’s other son is a billionaire, suggesting to critics that more than business acumen was at play.
There is every reason to believe that the fight between Najib and Dr Mahathir will get nastier in the coming months and some sort of confrontation is inevitable. Who will win? It’s impossible to say. Umno as a party has strong survival instincts. If by the end of this year Umno feels that Najib cannot win the next general election, due in 2018, he’s toast. However, Mahathir is 90 years old this year. So time is on Najib’s side. Then again, it’s always foolish to bet against Dr Mahathir when he is on a mission.
*Prof James Chin is Director of the Asia Institute at the University of Tasmania. The commentary was first published in Australian Outlook.