26 November 2011

Who, and what next, after Najib...

NONEPerhaps Prime Minister Najib Razak has achieved all that he ever desired in life. It will be sad, very sad - indeed tragic - for him not to do well in the next general election.

For Anwar Ibrahim, this maybe his last chance, and also his best opportunity, to make real headway; there has never been a more favourable political situation for the opposition than now.

This opportunity may not come again for a long time if Pakatan Rakyat fails to seize it. He either makes it this time around or fades into history.

As for Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, he has always wanted to be PM, and his mentor Tunku Abdul Rahman, had fervently wanted him to lead the country one day. Poor man, he just missed it in 1987. However, for as long as he breathes, there is hope. Indeed, if you dream long enough, it may come true.

In the forthcoming crucial, toughest and dirtiest electoral war, there are three probable scenarios:

a) First, if BN is re-elected with a big majority, Najib may become PM for a long time. It would be incredible considering that his great father, Abdul Razak, died young in office; just two years after winning his personal mandate in 1974.

I think, at this point in time, and all being well, Najib should win. The question is - how big the majority. If he wins big, Najib will form a cabinet which, though in essence reflects Malaysian political realities, will consist many of his own people - his loyalists.

However, I fervently hope he will hand pick a few talents to help him reform and transform the nation, consistent with the changing times.

b) Secondly, in the event, not unlikely, Najib just scrapes through marginally, he will be forced like Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, to step down... albeit, like his predecessor, with rich rewards.

NONEPresumably, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin will step in and fill the cabinet with his cronies, who will determine the direction of the new government, like I am ‘Malay first, Malaysian second’, ‘Bahasa Melayu first and English, a distant second’.

Singapore should greatly benefit from Muhyiddin’s leadership. I am told - by reliable sources - he’s well-liked over there.

c) Thirdly, not impossible though a bit far-fetched, a political tsunami occurs. Then Anwar, in prison or another opposition leader, PAS’ Abdul Hadi Awang, becomes PM.

The question is how long Anwar personally and the DAP-PAS-PKR coalition will last? Will it be a repeat of Perak? Worst, PAS forms a new alliance with Umno - it is likely to happen if DAP makes unreasonable demands that PAS politically and constitutionally cannot accept - to establish a Negara Islam or an Islamic theocratic state with syariah and hudud becoming the principal law.

Regaining the people trust

Regardless which coalition - the old, the new or the newer one - forms the government, the challenges and problems are the same: steering the country through tough economic times, rebuilding our educational system, finding and leveraging our competitive edge; plugging leakages, reducing corruption and crime, restoring interracial, religious harmony, trust and confidence.

There is an urgent need to maintain law and order and stringent immigration; raising the standard of living, safety, health and security. Also a serious attempt must be made to narrow the gap between the rich, who are becoming richer, and the poor, who are becoming poorer.

As the civil service or the public sector moves forward, the private sector and corporate world, too, must transform to make it more inclusive otherwise the overall national objectives will never be attained... peacefully!

Regaining the people’s trust in institutions and the private sector is very crucial. Equally imperative, the politician must regain the respect of the rakyat and the voters. Now the level of regard is abysmally low.

There are talks of a hung parliament. I don’t think a hung parliament will happen because there isn’t a credible and serious Third Force in existence.

NONEHowever, three senior opposition insiders told me that an NGO, which is planning to convert itself into a political vehicle, has offered cooperation to Pakatan Rakyat in return for it to contest in between 10 to 20 constituencies in the next election.

If I were Anwar Ibrahim I will politely decline the offer - he doesn’t need ‘passengers’ now. He should only talk to them post-election and see how many seats they could win on their own. Deliver first, talk later, otherwise they could be an albatross.

In politics, gumption or judgement is important. Wrong timing will be fatal for Najib and the ruling party. I look forward to PRU13, the next general election. I think Najib should win.

He is, after all, Abdul Razak’s son. He should know what to do to keep power. He also knows what would likely happen to his party and himself if he and his party bungled. There is no substitute, I repeat, no substitute to victory.

Seri Perdana a temporary residence

From reading all the political and economic analyses, including those in the new media, I could not see how Najib could be so cheerful, unless, of course, he keeps reading pages and reams of good things which make him feel good.

Whoever commands between 65 to 70 percent of pribumi voters would win. The Chinese and Indian sectors are important contributors - they must be courted though not to the extent of unwisely and politically offending the majority and the still-influential Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

There are only 45 to 50 Chinese-majority seats, 120 to 130 pribumi-majority constituencies, and the rest are delicately balanced mixed constituencies.

Seri Perdana, like the White House and 10 Downing Street, is a temporary residence. Mahathir built it and lived there. So did Abdullah Badawi. And now Najib, living alternately there and his private home.

There will be a PM after Najib. I do hope none ever gets to think that he is going to be forever in power. That will be a good start to begin the New Year. Power corrupts, an allegation usually made by ‘Outs’ against ‘Ins’ to persuade voters that it’s time for a change.

Let me say this - whichever party wins there always exists an interlocking directorate or triumvirate of politicians, money and the unseen hands who shape national policy, no matter who the prime minister is.- Abdullah Ahmad



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