Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Najib vs Mad Hatter; Lawan Tauke? Nah...Too Much Baggage

Is Najib now trying to be his own man? Nah...despite what the following article in the Malaysia Chronicle says, I really do not think so. Since when has Najib had to fight for anything let alone been a fighter. Throughout his political career he has had positions handed to him on a silver platter as if it was his birthright. The only time he had to fight was in the 1999 General Elections and he almost lost that! Scrapped through by 241 votes! 

No; Najib is a lover not a fighter. He is more inclined to get others to do his bidding rather that to get into the thick of things. There appears to be not many around these days in his UMNO who are willing to bet the farm on him what with his own deputy Muhyiddin snapping at his heels. 

What about Najib's own baggage? We all know what he is saddled with don't we? Would you bet on Najib being his own man? Nah...better go ask Kak Ros to answer that.

This sendiwara is turning out to be a full-fledged bangsawan presentation...

The Malaysia Chronicle article:

Ling part of Najib's first salvo to show Dr M, Umno who's boss...
by admin@ malaysiachronicle
Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

It looks like things are coming to a head between Prime Minister Najib Razak and former premier Mahathir Mohamad.

Najib is finally starting to flex his muscles – slowly and cautiously. Perhaps, too cautiously. It has given the wily Mahathir room to attack him at a time when he is overseas on personal leave.

Still, Umno watchers say despite the noise and obvious support from Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, Mahathir is unlikely to be able to do much.

According to them, the worst that Mahathir can do now is to tear at Najib’s credibility with the non-Malays, while at the same time, strike fear into the hearts of the Malays that their heydays of political power are numbered – especially if the PM’s 1Malaysia slogan is allowed to take off.

“The prime minister’s job carries enormous power. It is very hard to take on an incumbent and win unless his support in Umno itself has almost disappeared – like Badawi’s case. But Najib can still command support from many progressive leaders in the Umno supreme council,” the Umno watcher told Malaysia Chronicle.

“So Dr M can bitch and gripe all he wants, but judging from the way things are moving, Najib still has the upper hand. He sent a very strong message to Dr M when he allowed Ling to be arrested. There will be more coming, not just MCA and MIC people, but also from Umno. But Malaysians who want reform must be patient. If Najib unsettles the power equation in Umno too quickly, it might trigger his own downfall.”

Ling part of the first step

Indeed, Najib has been slammed for 'putting on a show' when he arrested former Transport Minister Ling Liong Sik for cheating the government over land valuations in the Port Klang Free Zone debacle without going after Ling’s boss – Mahathir.

Mahathir had been prime minister, home minister and finance minister at the time when the decision was taken to launch the PKFZ project. Others believed to be involved include MCA leaders Chang Kong Choy, Chor Chee Heung, Ting Chew Peh, Yap Pian Hon, former UMNO treasurer Azim Mohd Zabidi, Bintulu Member of Parliament Tiong King Sing and former Port Klang Authority general manager O C Phang.

But so far, despite unofficial talk of more arrests to come, none have been made – giving Mahathir and Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s Pakatan Rakyat more ammunition to fire at Najib.

The man on the street too is confused because the long-serving Ling – like him or not – is an icon in his own way having contributed tremendously to Chinese education, although allegations of corruption have dogged him throughout his 17-year career.

Many Umno watchers believe that the only way for Najib to restore public confidence in his administration and more importantly reclaim his mandate to lead the nation, via his 1Malaysia plan, is to neutralize Mahathir and the ultra-Malay groups that Mahathir patronizes such as Perkasa and MPM.

“I think it no secret at all the Chinese in the PKFZ scandal are the small fry. Even Ling, with all due respect, he was just an order taker. But how does one go after a man the stature of Mahathir without causing an irreversible split in Umno. If Umno is shaken, the rest of nation will also be shaken. This is a fact and the non-Malays must be sensitive and patient,” the Umno watcher said.

“It is very hard to fight off accusations you are betraying your own race, especially hot-head groups like Perkasa and MPM – they politicize and racialise everything you say. Can Najib remain president of Umno if he is seen to be anti-Malay? Does it make sense? To nit-pick and argue at this point in time is wasteful.”

The big picture

According to the Umno source, if Najib were to openly challenge Mahathir and Perkasa, too much effort would be spent on unnecessary racial and political bickering and the economy would plunge to zero.

The better way out was to get the big picture right and then gradually fill in the new power equation. And getting the big picture right meant the first order of the day for Najib must be to reclaim his power. And finally get his 1Malaysia off the ground.

Right now, Najib is unable to move because of Mahathir, who after 22 years of ruling with a fist of iron, does not like the system of governance he set up to be changed. Also, his legacy of vested interests and his bevy of cronies needs to be protected, hence the enormous resistance to let go and let Najib rule as he sees fit.

“This is what the PKFZ is about – to show Mahathir who’s the boss at Umno and to tell Malaysians that he will keep his promises to reform and unify the races. But first of all, he has got to solve this huge problem called Dr M and his legacy from the past,” the watcher said.

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