MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Friday, October 30, 2015

Najib has a worthy defender at last

With Nazri Aziz taking charge of the circus, the PM can perhaps breath a sigh of relief.
For a long time, the Najib administration lacked one crucial element for its defence against attacks by former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, the opposition and members of the general public over 1MDB’s debts and the mysterious RM2.6 billion donation to the Prime Minister.
In the absence of that element, the statements coming from Putrajaya did nothing to ward off the blows directed at Najib. In fact, they caused more frustration and anger among those who follow the news, and often invite their ridicule. Ahmad Maslan, Rahman Dahlan, Azalina Othman and so many others have taken up many precious column inches and brain cells, only to make matters worse for the PM. Any remaining supporter of the administration must have been left demotivated.
This has changed with the re-emergence of Minister of Tourism and Culture Nazri Aziz into the public sphere following a relatively quiet September for his usually outspoken self. His wit and gumption was what was missing from Najib’s defence line.
First, to defuse the question of Bersih 4’s impact on the economy, the minister joked that the rally had saved the government millions of ringgit in tourism advertising, noting that westerners regard rallies as something of a tourist attraction.
He then turned his attention to the de facto opposition leader, Mahathir, and called him an “unprincipled hypocrite.” He said the former PM would have to blame himself if he believed that Putrajaya was repressive. This was probably the strongest, most legitimate salvo from Umno to be launched at Mahathir. It must be said that a certain reverence for Mahathir had led to some rather tepid attacks before this, when zeal and wit were in order.
Nazri even challenged Mahathir to run against Najib in the PM’s stomping ground of Pekan, Pahang. He knows full well that that is one of the nuclear options on the table, although it is unlikely that it will be taken up. He’s telling the doctor to put his money where his mouth is if he truly believes he can topple Najib.
This bodes some ill for the opposition. At the very least, it means that the quality of defence in the government arsenal has taken a massive leap forward.
Nazri is truly coming into his own as the buffer zone between the Prime Minister and his critics. With him running the circus, it can only mean better business for Najib and his cohorts.

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