Monday, April 13, 2009



Wretched days gloomed the recall of power to the family of Malaysia’s glorious leader, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, whose son, Mohamed Najib, 55, was sworn-in as the country’s new premier on April 3 only to be socked by a double defeat on April 7 when the Barisan Nasional (BN) he now leads lost to Pakatan Rakyat in Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau in a fight for grabs.

The spontaneous reaction when the results were announced was ‘It’s over!’ (Habis!).

The third contest in the by-elections did not bother anyone. Batang Ai was a BN seat in Sarawak the ruling coalition retained.

Bukit Gantang (Parliamentary) and Bukit Selambau (State) were fought against Najib’s clever takeover of the Perak government the Pakatan is contesting. Also staked in the fight for the finish was Najib’s One Malaysia concept.

People are now asking what does the One Malaysia actually mean, a critical question that’s sending his ascent to the highest office in the county into a popular frown that can cost him a quick loss of confidence.

Najib walked into his first day of office on April 6. A day later he was shrunk by the acid froth that surfaced from the larger-than-before losses in the two constituencies the BN should have walked away with, hands down.

As he shrunk in size his arch-rival, Anwar Ibrahim, rose into an out-of-proportion giant.

Anwar is now poised to grow into a mighty Godzilla win or lose against the peculiar charge of sodomy he was alleged to have enjoyed in a ride of his aide, Saiful, 21, a day after he returned from umrah (supererogatory pilgrimage) in Mecca.

It suggested he was addicted to forcible homosexual thrust many refuse to believe is possible for a man of 61 with a bad back to boot.

Clearly the dual defeat on April 3 injured Najib worse than before.

In his trail to the top he lugged an out-sized luggage which became heavier after his chosen running-mate, Ali Rastum, was disqualified from contesting for party number two by the Umno Disciplinary Board. Ali was found guilty of political corruption and the country is abuzz until now.

Wagging tongues had since verged on the vitriolic. When he chose Gerakan president, Koh Tsu Khoon and his Wanita Chief, Tan Lian Hoe, into his Cabinet, the Malays became sullen.

The duo was mainly responsible for the punishment meted out on former Umno divisional chief in Penang, Ahmad Ismail, for saying in a communal banter the Chinese were squatters in Malaysia.

When Ahmad was forced out of all his political and NGO positions and then, in fact, was charge for sedition (later withdrawn), the whole 14 divisions of Penang Umno protested against the severe punishment and against the Gerakan duo.

Later former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir, was to refer to the event in a speech wherein he said it would soon be seditious for the Malays to call Malaya Tanah Melayu (Malay Motherland).

It’s ironic, and perhaps negligent, for Najib to make Koh Tsu Khoon in charge of Unity, which ought to entrust the One Malaysia concept to him. And with him in the Cabinet is Tan Lian Hoe a lot of the Malays in Umno had wanted out.

It must also be remembered members of the Movement Against Teaching Mathematics and Science in English who had held a large demonstration in Kuala Lumpur weeks before had campaigned against the BN in Bukit Gantang.

The upshot is obviously bad for Najib. While some are saying let’s wait for the first 100 days of the new premier before judging him, a lot of Malays are saying he is not championing or even representing their cause.

Najib is, they say, only a more efficient version of Pak Lah, the party president they sacked and may now be punished for having done that.

Meanwhile, the MIC has shown its dissatisfaction for being given the junior Human Resource Cabinet post and not either the Works or the Transport Ministry where good fruits are bunched.

It’s certain Najib is in deep waters. What’s happened to the PPP is a question worth examining after it was said 6,000 of the party members in Kedah had joined the PKR before the April 7 by-elections.

It’s looking like Najib may sink before he is actually launched. But what would it take for the Pakatan Rakyat to become an acceptable alternative to the BN? ---a. ghani ismail, 13 April, 2009

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