Pak Lah warns Najib of internal resistance to reforms

By Shannon Teoh
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 19, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 — Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said today that Datuk Seri Najib Razak should expect hardliners in Barisan Nasional (BN) to resist his plans to repeal the Internal Security Act (ISA) and other security laws because they want to maintain the old ways to silence critics.

The former prime minister, who was conferred Universiti Malaysia Kelantan’s first honorary doctorate today, said in his acceptance speech that his own efforts to implement reforms were “opposed not just by those outside but also those from within.”

“There are hardliners who want to maintain the old system, controlling the flow of information and using laws to silence the public. Najib may face the same challenges I did before. The job of a reformist is not easy.

“I hope there will not be those that oppose silently, ‘seperti gunting dalam lipatan’, as the policy that (Najib) wants to create with the repeal of the ISA will benefit the public and the nation in the long term,” Abdullah said, using the Malay idiom that refers to internal saboteurs.

PM Najib had announced last Thursday the repeal of the ISA, the three Emergency Declarations and also the need for annual printing and publishing permits when both Dewan Negara and Dewan Rakyat have their next sitting.

The Umno president said the new laws will be enacted to protect the peace, harmony and security of the country but admitted that they were “risky but necessary for our survival.”

Najib replaced Abdullah in April 2009 with the promise of reviewing the ISA but has now done away with the security law completely in what appears to be a drastic move to win back middle Malaysia.

But critics have warned that the BN chief will face pressure from right-wing elements within Umno and other lobby groups such as Perkasa.

Abdullah came into power in 2003, also with the promise of liberal reforms, but only delivered his reform package after the 2008 general election which saw BN fail to secure its customary two-thirds majority of Parliament, leading to his resignation a year later.

The Abdullah administration passed the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Judicial Appointments Commission and Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission Acts just months before he stepped down despite criticism that they were watered-down.

The MACC especially has been repeatedly accused of being biased against Pakatan Rakyat (PR) while two deaths in custody including that of a DAP aide have further dented its credibility.

Abdullah said today that even though some had blamed the 2008 election losses — which also saw BN ceding five state governments — on him for allowing too much freedom, “I have never regretted it as this is a basic human right.”

“To me, any rational and civilised society will one day be able to filter lies and deceit from truth and sincerity,” he said, adding that he was proud of Najib for “continuing the government’s pursuit of basic human rights.”

Putrajaya’s reform package was seen by political observers as a bid to reclaim middle Malaysia after the disastrous handling of the July 9 Bersih rally that saw the Najib administration being widely criticised in the international media just as he was pitching the country to foreign investors.

The latest survey from local pollster Merdeka Center has also showed that Najib’s popularity slid to 59 per cent this August from the 79 per cent high in May 2010, fuelled by rising concerns over the surge in living costs and the Bersih clampdown.

  1. #1 by k1980 on Monday, 19 September 2011 - 12:54 pm

    Had spongedollah squarepants had the b@lls to do away with the isa in 2008, he might still be pm today, instead of spongejibb squarepants.

  2. #2 by Jeffrey on Monday, 19 September 2011 - 1:10 pm

    ///There are hardliners who want to maintain the old system, controlling the flow of information and using laws to silence the public/// -Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

    Don’t tell me that the rest of mainstream Malaysia comprising majority should be held hostage by the hardliners who want to maintain “old system”, control flow of information and use laws to silence public forever?

    How could we allow the self vested interests of this proportionately smaller group oppress the rest this way and allow the nation to go to the dogs, so to speak? What’s wrong with this place to allow such a thing to happen and continue?

  3. #3 by Jeffrey on Monday, 19 September 2011 - 1:18 pm

    “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” commonly attributed to Edmund Burke (though he never really said it). He however did write in his Treatise, “Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents” that “when bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.” It means about the same thing.

  4. #4 by boh-liao on Monday, 19 September 2011 - 1:25 pm

    No worry, dis time round NR got big FLOM mah 2 wallop those fr within n outside 1
    Wow, sleepihead macam ini pun got Hon PhD, beh pai sei meh, veri au tar 1

  5. #5 by yhsiew on Monday, 19 September 2011 - 1:26 pm

    ///There are hardliners who want to maintain the old system, controlling the flow of information and using laws to silence the public/// -Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

    The solution is so simple – just change the tenant at Putrajay, then everything will be solved!

  6. #6 by sheriff singh on Monday, 19 September 2011 - 1:34 pm

    I wonder if Pak Lah is offering some strong, pertinent, insightful views or is he poking fire and instigating a rebellion within UMNO?

  7. #7 by dagen on Monday, 19 September 2011 - 1:56 pm

    “Oh shhheeeeett!”
    “What happened?”
    “There will be riot in umno.”
    zzzzzzzzzz ……

    … slumbering giant woke up momentarily, made a few remarks and returned to its slumber … zzz

  8. #8 by Loh on Monday, 19 September 2011 - 3:42 pm

    ///Abdullah said today that even though some had blamed the 2008 election losses — which also saw BN ceding five state governments — on him for allowing too much freedom, “I have never regretted it as this is a basic human right.”///–AAB

    AAB should of course be credited for the 2008 election losses but the reason was not for allowing too much freedom. It was for promising to be non-racial but the son-in-law launched the worst racist squabbles starting with claiming that Malays in Penang were marginalized.

    Had AAB followed through with implementing the RCI recommendations for IPCMC he would have earned the respect of UMNO leaders who could not be swayed by Mamakthir, and he would not have been forced into retirement even with election losses in 2008. Besides he was not smart enough to move away from the political system where he had to follow the wishes of UMNO warlords to stay in power. But a sitting PM losing to a had been only proves that AAB was simply useless. Najib is at least not as stupid as AAB.

  9. #9 by waterfrontcoolie on Tuesday, 20 September 2011 - 7:59 am

    Well as much as the BN hardliners want to maintain the Gravy train, we Malaysians want to derail it so that we can have a more enlightened leadership. So Tun, Change will come and Change will be! As often quoted ” Nothing is constant except Change!”. AAB can only talk for which I lost 2 tables! If Najib wanted to save himself, then get all his party members to vote not through the central delegate system which all BN component parties followed! This system in fact deprived the ordinary members of any dignity! They become just number! Maybe, Pm you should start with UMNO first! Give your members some REAL democracy!

  10. #10 by Peter on Wednesday, 21 September 2011 - 11:11 am

    Just ignore that sleepy flip flop guy what he says. The Malaysian constitution also allows people like Mahathir, who are Muslims, who speak Malay and follow Malay customs, to call themselves Malays. To gain power and plunder the country, a lot of people of mixed ethnicity in Umno call themselves Malays so as to endear themselves to the majority Malays.
    To get their votes they also play the race and religious card to the hilt. In reality, they have no love or interest in the welfare of the Malays as illustrated by Mahathir’s ‘Project M’ in Sabah. To win the elections, Mahathir made hundreds of thousands of illegal foreigners ‘bumiputeras’, who will now want an equal share of all the privileges enjoyed by the native Malays. Now PM Najib Razak and Umno seem to be doing the same thing in the peninsula. And did the Home Ministry ask the 700,000 newly-granted citizenships in Sabah to write 150-word written tests? Has the ISA been used? My answer on behalf of Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein: “No. Never.”

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