Archive for category Mahathir

Najib, Malaysia’s Teflon PM

– James Chin
The Malaysian Insider
3 February 2016

For the past three years, every political pundit in Malaysia has been asked a simple question: when will Datuk Seri Najib Razak be replaced?

A year ago, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the fourth and longest-serving prime minister, in power from 1981 to 2003, was gung-ho about his ability to get rid of Najib.

After all, it is on the public record that Dr Mahathir was largely responsible for the political demise of the first and fifth prime ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. There was no reason to think that he could not secure the trifecta, so to speak. Read the rest of this entry »

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Anti-Najib Forces Planning ‘Guerrilla War’

By John Berthelsen
Asian Sentinel
December 14, 2015

With the United Malays National Organization’s annual general meeting safely out of the way last week and with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in the saddle as expected, the opposition led by dumped Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and former Premier Mahathir Mohamad is expected to set off on a new course. Some are calling it guerrilla war.

The four-day conclave was programmed down to the last speaker and lunch menu to make sure that Muhyiddin, Mahathir and other dissidents didn’t have a chance to upset anything despite huge controversies over dual scandals involving Najib’s personal finances and massive debt owed by the state backed 1Malaysia Development Bhd. investment fund. Read the rest of this entry »

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Despatching UMNO to Opposition benches in 14GE will be doing both UMNO and nation a great favour as it will not only promote healthy growth and development of democracy in Malaysia but will give UMNO the chance for reform and regeneration

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Malaysia last week, in the company of other ASEAN, Asian and Pacific leaders like President Xi Jingping of China, President Barack Obama of the United States, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, President Joko Widodo of Indonesia and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia for the ASEAN and Post-ASEAN Summits.

Modi is the fifth Prime Minister of India resulting from a change of government through the ballot box in a general election.

The first time India had a change of government through the ballot box was in the sixth Indian general election in 1977 when the Indian Congress which had ruled India for 30 years was voted out of office, replaced by an Opposition coalition headed by Morarji Desai of Janata party.

Indian Congress under Indira Gandhi won back federal power in the seventh Indian general election in 1980 but BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) leading an Opposition coalition captured New Delhi in the 11th to 13th Indian General Elections from 1996 – 1999.

Indian Congress leading a coalition of parties won back the Indian Federal Government in the 14th and 15th General Elections in 2004 and 2008 under Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister.

The last change of government through the ballot box was in the 16th Indian General Election in 2014 with Narendra Modi as Prime Minister.

This means that in 63 years in sixteen General Elections, there had been five changes of government between the Indian Congress and Opposition coalitions.

In comparison, Malaysia has held 13 General Elections in 56 years but there has not been a single change of Federal Government in Putrajaya form the UMNO-led coalition, which makes Malaysian democracy as a most abnormal one. Read the rest of this entry »

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At last, despite his advanced years even Mahathir is learning the basic principle of a developed democratic system that a two-coalition system better than any one-party rule

I have been involved in Malaysian politics for 50 years since the end of November 1965 not to “cari makan” for myself, as mentioned by the new Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee Datuk Hasan Arifin, but to join forces with like-minded Malaysians to achieve an united, harmonious, democratic, just and prosperous nation which can a model and showcase to the world of a successful multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-cultural and multi-lingual nation-building.

There are three episodes which highlight the ups-and-downs and the trials and tribulations of this 50-year political struggle for democracy, justice and an united Malaysian nation.

Firstly, there was an occasion in the seventies when a powerful UMNO Minister stood up in Parliament to interrupt my speech on the political, economic, good governance and nation-building failures of the UMNO-led government and told me haughtily that if I did not like Umno/BN government policies, I could leave the country to a foreign land. Without hesitation, I immediately responded by telling this Minister that if he did not like to hear what I had said, which represented the voice of the electorate who had elected me into Parliament, he could leave the country himself! That shut him up. A lesson in democracy as well as in Malaysian nation-building. Read the rest of this entry »

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Some of the unthinkable scenarios which Malaysians must think about and even face in the extraordinary political circumstances Malaysia is in today

I have been suspended for six months for pointing out in Parliament that the Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia did not have the power to bar the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) under the Deputy Chairman Dr. Tan Seng Giaw (Kepong) with the proper PAC quorum from continuing its investigations in August into the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal.

My suspension, and the two questions that are being asked all over the country as to from whom and to whom the RM2.6 billion “donation” in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s personal banking accounts have gone to, are just symptomatic that Malaysia is very “sick” where a proper parliamentary system and the principles of accountability, transparency and good governance cannot function normally and effectively.

Malaysia is in very abnormal political times – in the interregnum between the fall of an UMNO-led government coalition which had been in power for 58 years but have led the country into a rut after losing its moral compass and sense of responsibility as a government and its replacement by a new coalition committed to defend the democratic freedoms and human rights enshrined in the Malaysian Constitution.

This is the time for Malaysians to think unthinkable scenarios and face up to extraordinary challenges in entirely new political circumstances taking place in Malaysa today.

Before the 2008 elections elections, it was unthinkable that the UMNO/Barisan Nasional government in Malaysia could be replaced, but after the 12th general elections in 2008, nobody doubts this question as it was no more “whether” but “when” the UMNO/BN Federal Government in Putrajaya would be replaced.

Similarly, Malaysians must think of what appears to be unthinkable scenarios and be prepared to face the new political challenges presented by them, including the following: Read the rest of this entry »

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Deal with reality, Najib is staying in power

– Koon Yew Yin
The Malaysian Insider
3 November 2015

Lately the Internet has been filled with stories of how Prime Minister Najib Razak is losing ground in Umno and likely to resign soon.

Much speculation is going on about what is happening behind the scenes in the Umno Supreme Council and the party’s divisional leaders.

There is also a lot of chatter about the infighting and horse trading that is taking place among the supporters of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah – all seen as contenders to succeed Najib should he be toppled.

In my view this is all sound and fury which signify nothing. Also that it will not amount to much. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s Mahathir: strongman turns activist to unseat former protégé

Oliver Holmes and David Munk in Kuala Lumpur
23 October 2015

‘Father of modern Malaysia’ brought down two former allies groomed to succeed him. Can he topple prime minister Najib Razak, his most stubborn heir?

He makes a most unlikely blogger. And, for many, an even more unlikely full-throated advocate of freedom of speech.

But that is the role Mahathir Mohamad has carved out for himself in Malaysia, the nation he is credited with transforming into a regional economic powerhouse.

As he enters his 91st year, he has become the country’s most prominent and undoubtedly most effective activist.

He has come out of retirement to throw allegations of arbitrary arrest, throttling of the press and corruption against current prime minister Najib Razak – similar to accusations that were lobbed against him during his own premiership from 1981 to 2003.

Sitting in his cavernous office and surrounded by gifts from world leaders, the man whose two decades in power are described by rights groups as autocratic has slipped seemingly with ease into his new role. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysian PM Najib used state funds for ‘bribery’, says former leader Mahathir

Oliver Holmes and David Munk in Kuala Lumpur
23 October 2015

Mahathir Mohamad launches fresh attack on scandal-hit former ally in interview with the Guardian

Malaysia’s former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has accused his protégé and current premier Najib Razak of driving a debt-ridden state fund into the ground by using it for bribery.

In an interview with the Guardian at his office in the administrative capital Putrajaya, Mahathir said Najib had confided to him months ago that “cash is king”, during a terse meeting in which Mahathir told the man he once groomed for the country’s top post that he had lost his support.

“What he is telling me is that bribery is OK. If you bribe with a few dollars, I suppose it doesn’t work, but if you give [money] to a person who has never seen a million ringgit he will turn around,” he said, referring to the local currency.

Najib is battling for his political life after media reports said investigators had found that nearly $700m (£456m) linked to the troubled 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) state fund was transferred into the prime minister’s private bank accounts. Read the rest of this entry »

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Whether Najib is ousted as PM or UMNO replaced, Malay political power is not threatened as a new PM will be a Malay and the new coalition will be Malay-dominated reflecting Malaysia’s demography

Former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir in his talk at the hi-tea organized by the Pusat Bandar Taman Cempaka UMNO Branch yesterday urged Malays to emulate their Chinese counterparts in making their case against Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak by transcending party lines when their interests are under threat.

Mahathir is mistaken in his interpretation of the motives and meaning of the results of the 13th General Elections in 2013 when he implied that the Chinese voters “forget their party interests” if the interests of their race are threatened.

For Mahathir’s information, national interests transcending communal interests were the primary consideration for the Malaysian Chinese who voted in the 13th General Election – not just for DAP, but for Pakatan Rakyat candidates including candidates from PKR and PAS.

This was why the Chinese voters elected Malay MPs from Pakatan Rakyat parties, rejecting Chinese candidates from MCA.

This is what a mature democracy and a Malaysian-centric electorate should do, placing national interests above personal, party and communal considerations. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s “riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma” – how to change a Prime Minister who has locked up support of the UMNO warlords

Some 75 years ago, a statesman spoke about a “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”.

We in Malaysia seems to be in that position now – how do you change a Prime Minister, who has become the most unpopular Prime Minister in the nation’s history, but who seems to have locked up the support of UMNO warlords and therefore the majority of UMNO/Barisan Nasional Members of Parliament, where a vote of no confidence in Parliament against the Prime Minister seems to hold no chance of success.

In developed parliamentary democracies, which Malaysia aspires to join in five years’ time, there is no problem for a change of unpopular Prime Ministers as witnessed the smooth and quick ouster of the Prime Minister of Australia in the middle of this month.

If Australia practises Najib style of parliamentary democracy, Malcolm Turnbull would not be the Australian Prime Minister today but would be in jail defending charges of trying to “topple” Tony Abbot as Prime Minister and for “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy”!

Yesterday, former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir said that the country’s economy can only recover with the removal of Najib as Prime Minister. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is the “Kebangkitan Maruah Melayu” rally in KL on Sept. 16 finally a pro-Najib anti-Mahathir rally in the latest round of power tussle in UMNO?

Many must be asking whether the Red-Shirt “Kebangkitan Maruah Melayu” rally in Kuala Lumpur on Sept. 16 is finally a pro-Najib and anti-Mahathir rally in the latest round of power tussle in UMNO?

This thought must have struck many after one of the promoters of the “Kebangkitan Maruah Melayu” rally challenged the former Prime Minister to join the rally on Sept. 16 if “he is Malay enough”!

Putting aside Mahathir’s unrelenting criticisms of Najib , his call for Najib to step down as Prime Minister, even his asking Opposition MPs to support a no-confidence motion against Najib in Parliament but to keep the UMNO/BN government in power, a racially-charged and ostensible “Kebangkitan Maruah Melayu” rally but which is finally a pro-Najib anti-Mahathir gathering, is a real eye-opener.

This is really astonishing and utterly unbelievable – are the masterminds and promoters of the “Kebangkitan Maruah Melayu” rally really suggesting that Mahathir, as President of UMNO and Prime Minister of Malaysia for 22 years, had betrayed the Malays for over two decades to the extent that “maruah Melayu” are today facing unprecedented crisis?

If not, are they blaming Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Najib, the fifth and sixth Prime Ministers after Mahathir, for the “downfall” of “maruah Melayu”? Read the rest of this entry »

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Congrats to UMNO for being “more united than ever” although the UMNO President had for the first time in history to sneak in and out of UMNO headquarters from the backdoor to avoid the unfriendly UMNO crowd in front

After yesterday’s UMNO Supreme Council meeting, UMNO leaders including the Barisan Nasional Strategic Communications Director, Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan who is also Minister for Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government, were at pains to convince all and sundry that UMNO is now “more united than ever”. (NST)

Congratulations is in order to UMNO for being “more united than ever” although the UMNO President and Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak had, for the first time in history of any UMNO President, to sneak in and out of UMNO headquarters from the backdoor to avoid the unfriendly UMNO crowd in front.

But the UMNO Supreme Council meeting failed miserably in assuring the public and the world that the governing coalition has the blueprint and the political will to end the prolonged crisis of confidence plaguing the country.

The UMNO/BN leadership were not only unable to bring a closure to the two mega financial scandals which had undermined national and international confidence in the Malaysian government – the RM50 billion 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion “donation” in the Prime Minister’s personal accounts twin scandals – but have allowed new issues to escalate and deepen the crisis of confidence in the country like the Red Shirt “Kebangkitan Maruah Melayu” rally in Kuala Lumpur on Sept. 16. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on UMNO/BN Ministers and leaders not to wear blinkers about Mahathir – regarding all he said now as wrong when during his 22-year premiership, idolising all he said as right even when he was wrong

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad today told the police to go ahead and arrest him for attending the Bersih 4 rally when he returned to the Subang Airport from the Czech Republic.

I would be disappointed if Mahathir had said otherwise or disappeared from Malaysia to escape any police dragnet.

As political leaders, we must stand up for the rights of the people and do not run away from the police if we have done no wrong.

I was advised against returning to Kuala Lumpur during the May 13, 1969 riots as I had flown to Kota Kinabalu on the morning of May 13, 1969 to campaign for the Independent candidate in Kota Kinabalu, but I returned to Kuala Lumpur although I was warned that I was on the blacklist of Internal Security Act arrests, as I felt that my place was with the people of Malaysia in their hour of need and trouble and not to seek personal refuge and safety abroad. I was then 28 years old. Read the rest of this entry »

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We went to Bersih 4 as patriots

by Jean Yeoh
Sep 2nd, 2015

Bersih 4 was my second street protest experience as a 70-year-old retired teacher, minus the excitement, but added more mixed feelings. I went to Bersih 3 with only one intention, for my three grandchildren. I went to Bersih 4.0 with two demands, spelt out on my self-made poster: for the next generation (in Chinese) and ‘utamakan pendidikan berkualiti (prioritise quality education).

Again my family gave me full blessing to participate, though knowing very well that it would be a bigger risk-taking adventure for me as what happened in Bersih 3 was still fresh in everybody’s mind.

But, ‘to Bersih 4 I will go’, despite reading lots of negative comments such as ‘so near the Low Yat fiasco, sure something more horrible will happen’, ‘what if the Red army came with bricks, sticks and even parangs’ ‘what is the use of going, still the same Malaysia and even worst then after Berish 3’and ‘Najib Abdul Razak is so desperate now he will try to create a scene so that emergency can be declared’. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia police to question Mahathir Mohamad over rally

Michael Peel in Putrajaya
Financial Times
2nd Sept 2015

Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s influential former prime minister, faces questioning by police as tensions deepen over his efforts to topple his scandal-hit successor Najib Razak.

Authorities have also called in leaders of a 34-hour street protest last weekend against Mr Najib after the government declared the rally illegal.

The targeting of people associated with the demonstration, which Mr Mahathir attended, comes as Mr Najib fights allegations of corruption over mysterious payments of more than $675m into bank accounts in his name.

The prime minister and the country’s anti-graft commission say the money came from an anonymous Middle Eastern donor, rather than Malaysian state funds.

Malaysian police said Khalid Abu Bakar, inspector-general, would take a statement from Mr Mahathir, who at the rally called for a “people’s power” movement to oust Mr Najib. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s political crisis in 5 numbers

Michael Peel
Financial Times
August 31, 2015

A marathon 34-hour rally in Malaysia at the weekend drew tens — perhaps even hundreds — of thousands to the streets of Kuala Lumpur to call for the resignation of Najib Razak, the scandal-hit prime minister. Mr Najib on Sunday vowed not to quit and accused the protesters of showing “poor national spirit” by demonstrating on the eve of the country’s National Day. The protest, known as Bersih — meaning “clean” in Malay — highlighted growing faultlines in the Southeast Asian country, as allegations of official corruption and abuses of power swirl. Here is the crisis in five numbers:

$675m : total of March 2013 transfers to accounts in Mr Najib’s name Read the rest of this entry »

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At least five Tuns think Najib should step down as Prime Minister – how many Tan Sris are of such thinking?

Yesterday, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said Umno needs more leaders and prospective leaders who are likeable and adaptable so that they can suit themselves to the environment and the people to ensure the party’s victory in the next general election.

As a result, I specially went through the 19 UMNO leaders in the 37-strong Najib Cabinet, and it is difficult to find more than one person who might qualify to be “likeable and adaptable” who can save UMNO from doom in the 14GE – the Minister for International Trade and Industry Datuk Mustapha Mohamad, but who is so sidelined from the centre of UMNO power politics that he cannot even save UMNO from PAS in Kelantan state general elections.

Until three months ago, second Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah might have qualified to be a “likeable and adaptable” UMNO leader to win back UMNO support, but he has proved to be so malleable as Cabinet spokeman for the RM50 billion 1MDB scandal (according to Tan Sri Muhyiddin in his last speech as Deputy Prime Minister to the UMNO Cheras Division on July 26, 2015) that he blotted his copybook and his credibility as a honest and trustworthy politician is in tatters.

It is indeed ironic that Najib is now talking about the need to have “likeable and adaptable” UMNO leaders to win back popular support for UMNO in 14GE when in his recent Cabinet reshuffle after sacking Muhyiddin as DPM and Shafie Apdal as Rural and Regional Development Minister, he promoted into the Cabinet or increased their public profile and importance in the Najib government people who are the very antithesis of his definition of “likeable and adaptable” leaders who can win back lost popular support for UMNO. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia Braces for Protests Against Prime Minister Najib

Wall Street Journal
Aug. 28, 2015

Malaysian police were bracing Friday for what is expected to be a massive weekend protest in Kuala Lumpur against Prime Minister Najib Razak’s management of the economy and the growing debt problems at a state investment fund.

Authorities said the planned protest is illegal while the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, a government agency, said in a statement it would block websites promoting or encouraging the demonstration, which is set to begin near Merdeka, or Independence, Square in the center of Kuala Lumpur on Saturday. The government also announced that it was against the law to wear yellow T-shirts in support of the rally.

The moves reflect Mr. Najib’s growing resolve to stay in power after it emerged that nearly $700 million was deposited into his bank accounts shortly before 2013’s national elections. Last month he sacked then-Deputy Premier Muhyiddin Yassin after Mr. Muhyiddin called on Mr. Najib to explain the worsening situation at the investment fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB. Mr. Najib also promoted four members of a parliamentary committee investigating 1MDB to the cabinet, meaning they could no longer stay on the panel. The following day, he replaced the country’s attorney-general, who was also involved in an investigation into 1MDB, ahead of his scheduled retirement date in October. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia PM Najib Razak ‘has to go’, says ex-leader Mahathir

David Pilling in Kuala Lumpur
Financial Times
August 26, 2015

Behind the political crisis engulfing Najib Razak, prime minister of Malaysia, lies nearly $700m that somehow made its way into his personal bank account. Behind that, according to leaked documents, lies a state development fund with $11bn in debts. Behind everything, however, sits a 90-year-old, for two decades the unassailable leader of this erstwhile Southeast Asian success story, who is doing all in his power to topple the present prime minister.

That at least is the claim of those around Mr Najib, who accuse Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s forceful former prime minister, of mounting what they describe as a coup d’état. “He has abused his position and done everything he can to undermine his successors just because his list of personal demands is not being met,” says a person close to government.

Mr Najib strenuously denies any wrongdoing or accepting money for personal gain. The funds in his account, he says, came from an unnamed Middle Eastern benefactor — an explanation endorsed by the country’s anti-corruption commission. Read the rest of this entry »

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Are there at least 35 UMNO/BN MPs who are prepared to join with Opposition MPs in October Parliament on a “Save Malaysia” agenda including a no-confidence motion on Najib?

The universe seems to be conspiring against Malaysia, as there is no surcease of daily bad news for the country.

Yesterday’s, it was disclosed that Bank Negara’s international reserves have declined further to US$94.5 billion (RM356.4 billion) as at Aug 14 compared to US$96.7 billion (RM364.7 billion) on July 31.

At this rate of shrinking international reserves to stem the ringgit slide against the US dollar which yesterday stood at RM4.17 to a US dollar, the BN international reserves could fall to some US$92 billion on Merdeka Day on August 31 and by Malaysia Day on Sept. 16, might be struggling not to fall below the US$90 billion level.

The news yesterday of the flip-flop by the new Attorney-General, Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali, forming a new task force to investigate the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal, after disbanding the earlier multi-agency Special Task Force to investigate into the twin scandals of 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s personal bank accounts, but now excluding the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), is only calculated to further undermine and not restore a very shaken public confidence in the key national institutions in the country.

In this context, the “interesting proposition” by former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir that the Opposition support a no-confidence vote in Parliament against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak while still retaining Barisan Nasional as government has opened up a Pandora’s Box about the directions Malaysia should be heading in the coming years. Read the rest of this entry »

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