Bungling Najib making opposition stronger

Syed Jaymal Zahiid | August 5, 2011
Free Malaysia Today

A former minister says the crackdown on the Bersih 2.0 rally had made the NGO into a giant and strengthened the opposition.

SERI KEMBANGAN: Former minister Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir said Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s poor handling of the Bersih 2.0 rally had made the polls watchdog a potent force and strengthened public support for the opposition.

Kadir, a former tourism minister during the time of Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said Najib could have easily minimised the Bersih threat if he had engaged the NGO instead of resorting to force, which, he added, had boosted the group.

“The government had built it up to become a big giant,” he told FMT in a recent interview at his office here, agreeing with the opinions of various party leaders who believed it would have been better to engage the polls watchdog in discussions than resorting to repressive measures.

“I would have allowed the procession right from the beginning… then there will be no noise at all… Bersih would have had only two days of publicity,” said the Umno veteran who described Bersih’s demands for electoral reforms as valid.

The suppression of the July 9 rally drew widespread condemnation from home and abroad.

Nearly 200 people were arrested ahead of the rally, and almost 1,700 more were detained on July 9 when Kuala Lumpur was virtually locked down.

No two-thirds for Najib

Despite the efforts to prevent the rally from taking place, tens of thousands converged on the capital city in a march for free and fair elections.

The protest, which the government had earlier declared illegal, turned chaotic when police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse the huge crowd.

Observers believe Najib’s strong-armed tactics had strengthened the opposition and is likely to blunt his drive to regain a two-thirds majority in the 13th general election tipped to be held early next year.

Kadir agreed that it would now be hard for Najib, who took office not through a general election, to win a stronger mandate.

“It’s not a secret. They (Umno leaders) themselves have admitted that it would be hard to regain the two-thirds majority,” said an Umno member.

  1. #1 by dcasey on Friday, 5 August 2011 - 12:22 pm

    “It’s not a secret. They (Umno leaders) themselves have admitted that it would be hard to regain the two-thirds majority,” said an Umno member.

    I’d say it is hard even to retain Putrajaya….

  2. #2 by boh-liao on Friday, 5 August 2011 - 1:18 pm

    Wow, Kafir pandai 1, smarter than NR n HH

  3. #3 by yhsiew on Friday, 5 August 2011 - 1:35 pm

    Some factions within Umno want to see Najib step down.

    The on-going internal power struggle in Umno is getting more and more intense as GE13 draws near.

  4. #4 by monsterball on Friday, 5 August 2011 - 1:56 pm

    It is almost impossible for Najib to kill millions of traitors taking over PutraJaya.
    UMNO B kingpins know that too well.

  5. #5 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Friday, 5 August 2011 - 5:05 pm

    Hello Kadir sheikh fadzir, don’t distract from the main issue of BERSIH 2.0. It is not whether Najib handled them well re demo!

    IT is all about those electoral reforms. So stick with these. Dont just tembak temberang, ok, my dear fella.

    I think u are just Mahathir mole to pour oil and stir discontent with Najib. Get him out by all means. BUT BERSIH’s demands are still unmet.

    And that is all that matters before GE 13

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