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Friday, July 31, 2015

“Learn from Nixon, accept you are not Manmohan”

Najib’s response to a crisis can create fresh problems, says Straits Times .
najib,nixon
KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Najib Razak should learn from Richard Nixon, and accept that he is not Manmohan Singh, an op-ed in Singapore’s Straits Times suggests.
Former United States President Richard Nixon resigned in the wake of the Watergate scandal after his efforts to conceal wrongdoing were perceived as more controversial than the crime itself.
The paper has also reminded Najib that he is not Manmohan Singh.
Accused of various corruption scandals, Singh defended himself by asserting that he had never used public office to enrich himself, his family or his friends.
Najib, however, is not in the same position as Singh because Malaysia is not India and Umno is not like the Congress Party, the Straits Times points out. Unlike Congress, Umno has never occupied the opposition bench in Parliament.
“Fear of losing power dominates Umno calculations,” the Straits Times opines, calling the postponement of the Supreme Council meeting originally scheduled for today a “tell-tale sign” of Najib’s own uncertainty.
Najib has plenty to be worried about given that Barisan Nasional did not win the popular vote in 2013. He also has his share of enemies, including former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and now the sacked Muhyddin Yassin.
Perhaps he was “careless” about his finances, the Straits Times suggests. After all, Malaysian elections are an expensive affair and every candidate tends to look to the party chief for “endorsement and financial support.”
Yet, the controversy which has followed allegations made against him are also weighing heavily on Malaysia’s economy. Given its sound fundamentals, as reflected by recent ratings issued by Fitch and Moody’s, the ringgit’s decline can only be attributed to the current political uncertainty.
“By not offering a convincing explanation for the money trail, or an outright denial of the existence of vast funds, Najib has left himself vulnerable,” the Straits Times says. “Not surprisingly, he behaves as though there are enemies lurking in the shadows.”
“There can be no question that [Najib’s] government has been dealt a bruising blow,” it concludes, but his response to it “can create fresh problems.”

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