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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

All eyes on Najib: Will he dare stand up to Perkasa, BTN, Dr M


Muhyiddin and a fast-fading Najib
Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

All eyes are on whether Prime Minister Najib Razak will walk his talk after preaching moderation over extremism to the United Nations, or will he close an eye so as not to upset the powerful conservative faction in his Umno party led by his deputy Muhyiddin Yassin and former premier Mahathir Mohamad.

For while he was in New York giving his maiden speech to the UN general assembly, back home, two nasty incidents took place that reeked of racism, intimidation and extremism. One involved ultra-Malays rights group Perkasa, which is linked to Mahathir, and the other the National Civics Bureau (BTN) which is a unit directly under Najib’s own department.

“Very soon, the world will know who Najib Razak really is. A visionary leader or the proverbial empty vessel that makes the most noise,” Batu MP Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.

Ineffective and weak

Tian Chua
But perhaps, most Malaysians have already placed their bets and written off the 57-year old Najib as the least effective and the weakest of the country’s six prime ministers so far.

Few expect him to do anything even though the deputy director of BTN Hamim Husain had called Malaysian Chinese “mata sepet” or slit eyes andMalaysian Indians “si-botol” or alcoholics. Hamim also suggested only the Malays had right to rule Malaysia.

As for Perkasa, whose patron is Mahathir and whose members are mostly from Umno right-wing, Najib has already lost several knock-out rounds to them. Just weeks ago, he was forced to U-turn on a decision to sever ties with Perkasa. Not only was the flip-flop embarrassing for Najib, it has further emboldened the conservatives in his party to treat him and his 1Malaysia plan with contempt.

“Najib is being challenged more and more each day by the Umno radical wing. He dare not confront the Umno core ideology which is Malay supremacy and which has now been outsourced to Perkasa. So for him to act against Perkasa is to act against Umno,” Tian said.

Badrul Hisham
Barely-veiled contempt for Najib and his 1Malaysia

On Tuesday night, Perkasa held a noisy protest outside the Kuala Lumpur-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, where they publicly incited hate and anger towards Malaysian Chinese rapper Namewee. Despite the manifestly racist slurs they hurled at him and the amount of commotion and public disorder they created, the police did not make a single arrest.

As for BTN, Najib is again expected to come up with some compromise solution, such as a transfer rather than outright sacking, although the BTN deputy director has clearly overstepped the boundaries of what is acceptable.

“Of course Najib won’t do anything. Look at the two school principals that Namewee scolded in his video clip, have they been punished? What more the BTN deputy director? So this is the Umno game – there may be infighting between Mahathir, Muhyiddin and Najib but their overall goal is the same – to stay in power,” PKR Youth leader Badrul Hisham Shaharin told Malaysia Chronicle.

Najib, Muhyiddin and Mukhriz
“This means they won’t upset the boat that is taking them to their destination. But they will still fight each other – for sure Muhyiddin will challenge Najib for the Umno presidency but that’s another game and fought using different weapons. That’s why Perkasa doesn’t even bother to give Najib face. Even the BTN deputy director and the Puteri Umno chief dare to rubbish his 1Malaysia plan in public because they all know there is nothing that Najib can do to them. He is the one who is powerless, not Muhyiddin or Mahathir."

Indeed, within Umno circles, there is already talk that Mahathir has picked Muhyiddin to succeed Najib and warm the PM's chair until his son Mukhriz Mahathir is ready to assume the top job.

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