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Friday, September 30, 2016

Najib: 6,000 new members in August alone shows Umno still has support


An increase of 6,000 Umno members in the month of August alone proves that the party still receives the people's support, its president Najib Abdul Razak said today.
Najib, who is also prime minister, said the figure comprised 374 ordinary members, Wanita Movement 731, Youth 2,716 and Puteri 2,179.
"I mention this because there are parties that only get 30 members but receive front-page coverage, so I want to inform that Umno had 6,000 members in August, but this did not appear in the front page of the newspapers," Najib told a news conference after chairing the Umno supreme council meeting at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur today.
Najib said the figure also showed that Umno was still the choice of the people, especially the younger generation.
In fact, he said, the success of the Pro-Aspirasi at 12 public universities at the campus elections earlier also showed that the government policies continued to receive acceptance from the group.
"This is positive news that the government policies continue to be accepted by the younger generation, as long as we are given the opportunity to explain to and engage with the younger generation," he said.
Dec 1 to 3 for general assembly
Najib said the Umno General Assembly 2016 would be held from Dec 1 to 3.
He said that prior to the assembly, the presidential briefing would be held on Nov 29 followed by the opening ceremony for the Youth, Wanita and Puteri movements in the evening.
He said the simultaneous opening of the three party wings would be officiated by Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, as vice-president carrying out the duties of the deputy president.

The assemblies of the three party wings would be held on Nov 30, he said.
Meanwhile, Najib said that at the meeting the supreme council members wanted Umno to draw up counter-proposals to the Election Commission (EC) on the proposed redelineation of electoral boundaries.
He said that Umno secretary-generalTengku Adnan Tengku Mansor would coordinate the matter at the state and divisional levels, which would then be submitted to the EC.
In addition, he said, the supreme council would also give several opinions and suggestions on the 2017 Budget, but this would take into consideration the country's financial capacity.
- Bernama

WHY YOU TOK LIKE DAT WAN?

parlimen

NAJIB: MUSLIMS IN MALAYSIA NOT UNITED BECAUSE OF AN ‘OLD LEADER’

Mahathir

(The Star) – The Malay Muslims in Malaysia are not united today because of one “old leader” who split them up into different parties, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
The Prime Minister said this leader was to blame for causing the Malays to be divided into three separate parties during his administration.
“Now that he has retired, he has divided the Muslims further into five groups by forming another party.
“This leader has a habit of being quarrelsome, acting like a hypocrite, he slanders them one moment, but then befriends them the next,” Najib said in an audio recording of a speech posted on his blog on Friday.
The Prime Minister did not name the “old leader”, but it is believed that he was referring to former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Najib said Muslims in this country were finding it difficult to unite because of this former leader’s actions, blaming the latter for complicating efforts to achieve a united ummah.
“He has thrown many harsh words at me when he too was not spared from accusations, such as being called kepala perompak (chief of robbers) but everyone knows I am not the first person he has abused.
“Many others were victimised by him in the past but have been picked up (as allies) again for political reasons at certain times,” Najib said.
The Prime Minister said all Muslims were considered brothers, and as such, he had tried to befriend parties with majority Muslim members although they may disagree in terms of political ideology.
“A Muslim leader has the heavy responsibility of uniting the ummah. I strongly hold on to this principle as it is called for in the holy Quran.
“I humbly urge all of us to stop quarrelling. Let’s go back to being united to form anummah that is strong and successful,” Najib added.
 -

Rocky, Big Dog and myth of ‘neutrality’

In his Che Det posting titled ‘Propaganda’ on Wednesday (Sept 28), Tun Dr Mahathir likened the Najib administration to a Nazi regime and a quartet of the Umno president’s men to Little Goebbels.
Tun then proceeded to take a shot at Malaysian mainstream media which he likened to Nazi Minister Joseph Goebbels’s propaganda machinery.
Tun wrote that “New Straits Times, Utusan dan TV3 sudah tidak dibaca atau dilihat oleh penonton. Mereka benci dengan pembohongan laporan yang disiar”.
Indeed some senior newsmen who are uncomfortable with recent political developments relating to Najib Razak have quit their jobs, such as Mustapha Kamil from NST and Ku Seman Ku Hussain from Utusan.
mole-logo-white-silhouette
Likewise, CEO Endie Shazalie Akbar too recently parted ways with The Mole.
It is difficult to imagine a harsh critic of Umno and of Najib’s men deciding to still remain in The Mole unless the said Protun reporter is working as the proverbial ‘mole’, i.e. spy planted within the establishment.
As it is, this particular whacky employee is already looked at askance by his colleagues and subordinates as well as regarded with some suspicion by his bosses.
BELOW: Mr Two Face and his pretense of being impartial in the Mahathir vs Najib fight
mole-spy

Can a blogger serve two (or three) masters at one go?

In his grumblings against government propaganda, Tun also gave special mention to two alpha bloggers. He wrote:
“Demikian juga dengan peralihan kesetiaan blogger Big Dog dan Rockybru. Mereka boleh nafi mereka telah dibeli, tetapi masyarakat semua faham sebab peralihan haluan oleh mereka. Apapun yang ditulis oleh mereka dimasukkan dalam bakul sampah.”
In his posting ‘Mahathir Kampf‘ yesterday, blogger Seademon explained that for Big Dog, the straw that broke the ‘sympathy-for-Mahathir’ camel’s back was when Mahathir joined the Bersih protest last year”.
big-dog-and-mahathir
Then came blow after blow that sent Big Dog (in blue, above) staggering:
  • Tun bersekongkol dengan Kit Siang dan DAP
  • Tun bersekongkol dengan media asing
  • Tun asking voters to make the Umno candidates lose their deposit in the twin by-elections
  • Tun asking for foreign interference in Malaysian affairs
  • Tun launching a public signature campaign to topple the Umno-led government
  • Tun forming a new party to crush Umno
  • Tun kiss and make up with Anwar …
It is all these factors and more that made Big Dog and Rockybru switch their allegiance. Not dedak as alleged by Tun.
BELOW: A self-professed neutral awek cun with ‘her’ feet between two stools
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-image46509550
With Rockybru and Big Dog, it is at least clear that they are not in Tun’s camp unlike a certain blogger who has his feet planted on two stools while cavorting with Cina ultras and makan kenyang from a third lubuk.
Rocky and Big Dog have responded in Twitter to Tun’s jibe.
Big Dog says that Tun holds to the Bush doctrine of “You are with me or against me” and even quips, “Death awaits disloyalty”.
xrockybrux-arrived
Now imagine another blogger (talking about somebody else here that tumpang Rocky’s popularity) who is with Tun, and who is against Najib but pretending to refrain from taking sides in the Najib-Mahathir quarrel. What a joke!
Political blogging is partisan and only a very kind-hearted captain (mudah kesian) will believe in such a charade of neutrality. Of course the whacker can use the cover line that he is only rambling, cakap suka-suka, blogging merely for fun, never been paid, etc, etc.
Rocky made a grand total of seven postings in his blog for the entire month of August. This is hardly reflective of a media man out to get Tun.
In contrast, Annie blogged three postings in a single day when the DoJ story broke. Now isn’t that clearly reflective of a media man out to get Najib?
Marina armpits DoJ suits Annie

Agent Annie — champion whacker who hosts most toxic ANC platform

A regular commenter Hj M Zin made the observation (in Malaysia Today on Sep 28, 2016 1:21pm) that Life of Annie is “now overwhelming favourite and dominated by vulgar-mouth ANCs”.
‘ANC’ refers to the Anti-Najib Campaign, and Tuan Haji Mohd Zin of Alor Gajah is saying that Life of Annie is the favourite watering hole for Najib whackers who steer the discourse with their non-stop whacking of Najib, Umno and the government.
Tuan Haji also suspects that “good $s [has been paid] to nauzubi ‘Llah slander the PM and Datin Seri” by RBAs camping 24/7 in Annie’s blog.
Nice job. Annie’s paymaster must be well pleased.

Together with Cina ultras taking potshots at PMO

The nautical term ‘loose cannon‘ comes to mind.
In the good ol’ days of naval warfare, 24-pounder guns (cannons) mounted on four wheels were the chief weapon.
These cannons were secured by lashings on the ship deck. In a sea fight, the carriage would be unfastened and the cannon rolled to the battle station. The cannon muzzles were then pushed through the gun port to fire at the enemy — see video above.
Now imagine a runaway cannon rolling wildly on deck in the high seas and misfiring scatter shots in all directions.
Loose cannon — that would be the fire-at-will Annie whacking here, there and everywhere at Najib’s men.
-Helen Ang’s Blog

King can’t remove PM, says ex-AG Abu Talib

Abu Talib disagrees with Mahathir's lawyer.
Mohamed Haniff Khatri AbdullaKUALA LUMPUR: A prime minister can be removed only through established convention or a court judgement, says former attorney-general Abu Talib Othman in disagreement with a lawyer representing former PM Mahathir Mohamad.
“Whether the Prime Minister should remain in office is decided by the majority of MPs,” he said.
For this to happen, he said, a vote of no-confidence needed to be moved in Parliament. Alternatively, he added, a majority of MPs could make a representation to the Yang diPertuan Agong that they no longer supported the Prime Minister.
“This is the legal principle established by the Federal Court in 2010 after the Perak case, following the fall of the Pakatan Rakyat government.”
Abu Talib made his remarks in response to a statement by lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla on Wednesday. He said the King was empowered to remove the PM.
Haniff, who represents Mahathir in civil cases, said the Federal Constitution clearly stated that “the power to appoint includes the power to dismiss.”
He drew attention to Article 40 (2) (a) of the constitution, which states that the King may act in his discretion in the appointment of a prime minister.
Article 40 (2) (a) does not make any reference to the power to dismiss, but Haniff referred to the interpretation provision in the 11th Schedule of the constitution, which states that where a written law confers upon any person or authority a power to make appointments to any office, the power shall be construed as including the power to dismiss or suspend.
Because the schedule was made alongside the constitution, he argued, ignoring the former would make the latter incomplete.
Abu Talib said a general provision in the schedule could not be used as a basis to remove the chief executive of the government.
He said the provision cited by Haniff could be used only to remove ministers as the King appointed them on the advice of the Prime Minister.

TMJ SHOULD CLEAN UP HIS OWN BACKYARD FIRST

no-hold-barred-2016-6
The Tunku Mahkota Johor needs to look at the elephant in the room, in particular regarding the conduct and behaviour of his Menteri Besar. While it is good that DYAM also addresses national issues, there is a proper platform for that, which is the Conference of Rulers that meets three times a year. And Rulers must be very careful about not straying into the realm of politics.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
tmj
DYAM Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, the Crown Prince of Johor (Tunku Mahkota Johor or TMJ), is quite popular amongst Malaysians because he is outspoken and dares throw challenges.
Malaysians just love people who can challenge or cabar another person. That is why cockfighting is still very popular in the Malay heartland of West Malaysia and in East Malaysia. When it comes to cockfighting Malays are just like the Spanish and their bullfights.
I suppose the Tunku Mahkota Johor is what Chinese would call a fighter-cock. One blog actually wrote an article titled 11 reasons why the Crown Prince of Johor is a TOTAL BADASS (READ HERE).
That article is painting a positive, not negative, picture regarding the Johor Crown Prince just like Rambo is a goodie and not a baddie. In that sense the TMJ would be Malaysia’s version of Rambo, which is why many Malaysians love him, in particular when he gets into fights with ‘orang kuat’.
Malays still love the story of Sultan Mahmud Shah II (the last Sultan of Johor descended from the Sultans of Melaka) and his challenger, Laksamana Megat Seri Rama, or the story of Hang Jebat and his challenger, Hang Tuah. Sultan Mahmud Shah and Hang Jebat were both killed by their challengers (although the Laksamana was also killed at the same time).
And that is also why, in spite of his many faults and transgressions, many Malaysians also still like Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Mahathir is a fighter-cock who challenged the First Prime Minister, the Rulers, the Judiciary, Australia, Britain, the United States, Lee Kuan Yew and Singapore, the Jews and Israel, PAS and the Islamists (even massacred them in Memali just to make a point), the Chinese educationists (launched Operasi Lalang to silence them), and much more.
Who in Malaysian political history (or even world history) would dare close down his party and register a new party just to get rid of his enemies and those making a nuisance of themselves? Then Mahathir made sure they were not allowed into the new party, which forced them to set up their own party where they could be isolated and then exterminated (which more or less is going to be the fate of PPBM or Pribumi — poetic justice I would say).
Anyway, the TMJ is clever at seeking publicity and at playing to the gallery. And these are the type of people Malaysians love — which is why PAN’s Mat Sabu, PKR’s Rafizi Ramli, DAP’s Tony Pua, PAS’s Mahfuz Omar, (hello, hello, hello…Sirul ke situ?…alamak dia tak jawab), DAP’s ‘Superman’, Perkasa’s Ibrahim Ali, the ANC’s Khairuddin Abu Hassan, and all those other jokers of Malaysian politics are household names.
The only problem is: should the TMJ be mentioned in the same sentence as the clowns of Malaysian politics? This is the dilemma we will face in future if the TMJ were to be perceived as just another 32-year-old young Chico playing populist politics. And this is what DYAM Tunku Ismail should guard against.
The other problem is people are beginning to say that there are so many social and other problems within Johor itself (a very high crime rate being one of them according to Singapore) but yet the TMJ does not appear concerned about them. One very immediate and serious problem is regarding the conduct and behaviour of the Johor Menteri Besar, Mohamed Khaled Nordin.
What is the TMJ doing about this? DYAM is maintaining a deafening silence instead of cleaning up this smear on Johor’s name. And people notice this and are talking about it. They are beginning to ask why the TMJ is protecting his Menteri Besar.
The TMJ does not appear to notice the elephant in the room — or as the Malays would say, ‘kuman di seberang lautan tampak, gajah di pelupuk mata tiada tampak’. Yes, the TMJ’s own backyard needs plenty of cleaning up so maybe that should first or also be taken care of before DYAM talks about things which constitutionally are out of his jurisdiction anyway.
His Majesty the Agong made it very clear two weeks ago that the Constitution is very specific about what the Rulers can and cannot do. And politics is definitely a realm that the Rulers must not stray into. And His Majesty is not a young Chico plus he has been Agong for two terms.
The other rulers, too, monitor the progress of their respective states. Take Selangor, for example. His Highness the Sultan meets the Menteri Besar every week and normally has a long list of things to discuss. His Highness also follows up on previous discussions to see whether whatever was raised has been attended to.
No, Rulers do not just sleep in their Palaces. They work. They go to office. The Sultan of Kedah, the current Agong, even sets aside a certain day when the normal rakyat or man-in-the-street can just walk in to complain to His Majesty whatever it is they are not happy about. That is why Mahathir was given his audience on 15th September 2016 to ‘complain’ about Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. Even a farmer or fisherman is given that privilege in Kedah.
But the other Rulers do not post all this in their blogs or call for a press conference or issue media statements. And for sure they do not throw challenges or invite people to fight. The other Rulers know that they should work within their ‘jurisdiction’ and not be seen as ‘playing politics’ or grandstanding.
Of course, there are state issues and there are national issues. But then there is the Conference of Rulers that meets three times a year where the Menteri Besar and Chief Minister of each state plus the Prime Minister also attend.
For example, at the 240th meeting of the Conference of Rulers in February 2016, which was chaired by His Highness the Sultan of Selangor, the Rulers gave their opinion regarding some provisions of the National Security Council Bill 2015, which they feel should be ‘refined’.
After that meeting, the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal, Syed Danial Syed Ahmad, said the Selangor Sultan would be writing to the Prime Minister to inform him about the view of the Rulers. Ultimately the Rulers just give their views. They do not give orders to the Prime Minister or any cabinet minister. And the Prime Minister can ignore this view if he so wishes and still get invited to the Agong’s birthday party every year.
Do you remember 20 years ago in 1996 when the ‘Islamists’ protested about Michael Jackson’s ‘obscene’ concert that was going to be held in Selangor? Syed Mohd Yusof Syed Nasir a.k.a. Jojo just quietly shifted the venue to Kuala Lumpur without any fuss and without the Raja Muda of Selangor calling anyone to fight.
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Michael Jackson KL
(Chicago Tribune, 25th October 1996) – With support from the prime minister, Malaysians will be allowed to judge for themselves whether Michael Jackson’s pelvic gyrations are immoral. The pop star was barred from holding a concert in the state of Selangor, where officials feared his antics would offend conservative Muslims. But the mayor of Kuala Lumpur issued permits for two concerts despite protests from the Malaysian National Youth Council that the performances would be immoral. The prime minister said Thursday fans should be given a chance to see for themselves. Jackson’s Sunday concert is sold out; a second show is Tuesday.
**************************************************
Jojo
Flamboyant entrepreneur
(The Star, 17th December 2005) – Famous for bringing in international artistes such as Michael Jackson, Kenny G, Ricky Martin and Linkin Park to Malaysia, Syed Yusof is viewed as an opposite persona to the more conservative Tan Sri Tan Teong Hean. Partnering the Sultan, the duo has a business empire that spans from owning a stake in Southern Bank Bhd (SBB) to entertainment, and owning and managing hotels and properties. (READ MORE HERE)

GREED & 1MDB-PUSSYFOOTING KILLED UMNO-BN: BY NOW NAJIB IRRELEVANT – WITH OR WITHOUT HIM, PROLONGED POLITICAL UNCERTAINTY WILL SEAL BN’S COFFIN

Neither Malaysia’s opposition nor its upcoming mass anti-government protests will supplant Prime Minister Najib Razak before the next general election.
Longtime Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad’s new party will struggle to gain traction, but it may still tip the electoral balance.
Growing restlessness in Malaysia’s outlying states could expose new fault lines in the country’s long-established political order.
Analysis
As rumors circulate that Malaysia’s next general election may be moved up to early next year, the country’s next political showdown is beginning to take shape. Over the past two years, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has been implicated in a scandal in which he allegedly looted nearly a billion dollars from state investment fund 1MDB.
Najib is widely considered guilty at this point, and the scandal has sparked mass protests, purges in his ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO) party and international scrutiny. But it has yet to seriously threaten him. Until the UMNO-led Barisan Nasional coalition sees the crisis as souring its electoral prospects, whether by alienating voters or by undermining the power of its patronage, the teflon prime minister will remain relatively secure in his position.
Still, for UMNO, which has ruled Malaysia every year since the country gained its independence, several challenges loom on the horizon. Combined with the country’s lingering economic woes and the continued 1MDB fallout, those challenges could expose new cracks in the political order and stability that have underpinned Malaysia’s rise to global prominence.
Staying Power
Despite his involvement in the 1MDB affair, Malaysia’s prime minister has managed to maintain his power over the country and the ruling party. As the scandal has unfolded, most UMNO members have closed ranks around Najib, and the party’s coalition partners have stayed put. Party members who have questioned the prime minister (including former Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin) or tried to investigate him (as Najib’s former attorney general did) have been purged and replaced with loyalists who absolve him of any wrongdoing. The fractured opposition, meanwhile, is simply too weak to oust him through a no-confidence vote — as it tried and failed to do a year ago. The corruption scandal has also had little effect on voters; Barisan Nasional coalition partners won each of the state and parliament by-elections held over the past year. The reason for its longevity is simple: Patronage remains the dominant tool of political power in Malaysia, and Najib’s administration controls the purse strings. A half-century of UMNO rule, moreover, has allowed the party to redraw political districts to its favor, something it is trying to do again in the electorally critical Selangor state.
Even so, if the scandal starts to hurt the ruling coalition’s electoral prospects, UMNO may be compelled to devise an exit for Najib before the next election to save him from prosecution and the party from an unprecedented defeat. The vote does not have to take place until late 2018, but over the past month, UMNO has reportedly intensified discussions on whether to call snap elections as soon as early 2017. Regardless, the possibility is accelerating realignments ahead of the next vote — among both the opposition and Barisan Nasional’s nervous coalition partners.
Enter Bersatu
The biggest complication for UMNO heading into the next election will be the newly formed Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, or Bersatu for short. Launched in August, Bersatu was established by longtime Malaysian leader and former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who also serves as the party’s chair. Muhyiddin is its president. The 91-year-old Mahathir has been trying to oust Najib, his former protege, for much of the past year, but his efforts have not gained much traction. His latest attempt to unseat UMNO is also unlikely to succeed on its own. Bersatu lacks the grassroots support and party machinery necessary to drive turnout, and Najib has been chipping away at Mahathir’s business interests, giving him less weight to throw around.
As part of an opposition alliance, however, the new party could play a decisive role in the next election. A similar opposition coalition nearly unseated Barisan Nasional in the 2013 general election and cost it the popular vote; Barisan Nasional retained a majority in parliament in that election mostly because of gerrymandering. During the week of Sept. 5, Mahathir was seen shaking hands with Anwar Ibrahim, a charismatic, reform-minded opposition leader. The incident was a boon for Bersatu, which found in Anwar an unlikely source of legitimacy — Mahathir ousted him in 1998 and then had him jailed on politically motivated charges.
By admitting only ethnic Malays into its membership, Bersatu has positioned itself as a natural landing place for Malay nationalist voters disenchanted with UMNO’s scandals but unsure of other opposition parties’ commitment to protecting their interests. UMNO’s stranglehold on the “Bumiputera” (the umbrella term for ethnic Malays and indigenous groups) vote is a perennial obstacle for the opposition. The party has long styled itself as safeguarding the interests of the Bumiputera against other ethnicities in Malaysia, stoking fears that the country’s economically powerful Chinese and Indian populations will try to do away with pro-Malay affirmative action policies. (Mahathir himself quietly sought to roll back some of the affirmative actions near the end of his term, to no avail.)
In the 2008 and 2013 general elections, opposition factions overcame their deep-seated differences and united behind ethnic Malay figures such as Anwar to appeal to Malay voters. But Anwar has since been jailed again, and the alliance has largely collapsed amid infighting and ethnic rivalries. For instance, the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) — the opposition Islamist party dominant in northern peninsular Malaysia — severed ties with a former ally, the Democratic Action Party (DAP) in 2015 and has yet to commit to the new coalition, possibly positioning itself as kingmaker in the next general election. But considering that the opposition won the popular vote in 2013, Bersatu theoretically would not need to peel off much support from the ruling coalition to swing the next election. Bersatu’s best bet may be to focus on splitting the ethnic Malay vote in key races rather than on winning seats for itself, allowing other opposition parties to prevail.
First, however, the opposition parties will need to find a workable marriage of convenience. Though Anwar has tentatively endorsed Bersatu, the main opposition parties do not trust Mahathir. After all, he was the main architect of the system that has made it so difficult to dislodge Najib, and his own rise was fueled by exploiting Malay and indigenous fears of, for example, “the Chinese tsunami.” And several opposition leaders — from Anwar to members of the DAP — were jailed on politically motivated charges during his tenure. Even if Barisan Nasional does not call snap elections, the opposition has less than two years to find a way to cooperate and come to terms on sticking points such as seat allocations and conflicting policies. So far, they have not made much progress. The DAP has been reluctant to follow Anwar’s lead by accepting Mahathir’s olive branch, and the PAS (which itself is facing internal splits between Islamist hard-liners and a breakaway faction that supports the opposition alliance) remains a wildcard.
A Spotlight on the Scandal
Disorganized though it may be, the opposition will still benefit from the activities of Bersih, or the Coalition for Clean Elections, an activist group that is agitating for Najib’s ouster. Next month, the group plans to launch a nationwide roadshow to spread awareness of the 1MDB scandal in Barisan Nasional-controlled areas of Malaysia — an important endeavor given the government’s censorship of news related to the case. The roadshow will culminate in mass protests in Kuala Lumpur and other cities on Nov. 19. Although Bersih is not formally aligned with any of the opposition parties and is wary of Mahathir’s legacy, its efforts will serve the needs of the opposition, especially if elections are on the horizon.
Though protest turnout promises to be high — the last Bersih protest in 2015 drew some 300,000 participants over the course of 30 hours — the demonstration itself will not be designed to overthrow Najib. Mass protests in Malaysia are not typically the go-for-broke affairs seen, for example, in Thailand, where protesters occupy urban areas for prolonged periods of time to force a confrontation and delegitimize the government. Furthermore, any attempt to lock down Kuala Lumpur would spark ethnically tinged counter-protests that would raise the risk of violence. (Last year’s UMNO-funded counter-rallies, for instance, took on a noticeable anti-Chinese bent, and police narrowly prevented party supporters from storming a prominent ethnic Chinese business district in the capital.) The opposition does not want to validate fears among ethnic Malays that UMNO’s defeat would throw off thetenuous ethnic balance that the party’s rule has helped preserve. Instead, with the upcoming elections in mind, the protest organizers will aim primarily to put the focus of the next race squarely on the 1MDB affair and turn the vote into a referendum on Najib himself. The more it succeeds, the less the opposition’s internal fractures will matter.
Cracks at the Fringes
Along with its other political concerns, Najib’s government has to contend with growing restlessness in the country’s outlying, semi-autonomous states. Lacking geographical or ethnic coherence, Malaysia’s solidarity has long relied on shrewd, inclusive policymaking and plentiful resource wealth to grease any friction. The farther from the capital one gets, the more important the flows of revenue and patronage from the government become — whether in the form of large-scale infrastructure projects, extraction licenses or cash transfers.
But over the past eight years, several outlying states have increasingly tried to take advantage of Barisan Nasional’s weaknesses to push for a greater devolution of powers from the capital. Sarawak, for example, has been pressing Kuala Lumpur for more authority and oil revenues. In addition, protests erupted in that state and neighboring Sabah — both of which were critical to Barisan Nasional’s victory in the 2013 election — in September, demanding greater autonomy and a referendum on their status in Malaysia. Meanwhile, the crown prince of wealthy Johor state has suggested that the state may consider leaving the federation — as its southern neighbor, Singapore, did in 1963 — if the central government does not honor agreements on issues such as water and land rights. And the PAS, based in the northern Kelantan state, has been flirting with supporting Barisan Nasional in exchange for considering a bill to increase the power of regional Sharia courts, a move that threatens to spark ethnic backlash on both sides of the aisle.
At this point, none of these nascent movements presages upheaval that would threaten the integrity of the Malay Federation, or even major defections away from Barisan Nasional. Johor’s secession threats are particularly hollow, and Barisan Nasional’s dominance in an April state election in Sarawak demonstrated that local issues will play as great a role in the next election as will turbulence in the capital. Still, the trend reveals the lines along which the UMNO-led political order could begin to crack in the face of prolonged political uncertainty — particularly if persistent economic problems and low oil prices pinch patronage flows — with or without Najib.
– www.stratfor.com