Glum economic outlook nudges Najib closer to polls

By Clara Chooi | December 14, 2011
The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 14 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak may have to rush into elections within three months, analysts have predicted, due to a bleak economic outlook and a world backdrop that is more hostile towards “strongmen and corrupt establishments”.

“The economic dynamics will be most crucial in determining the election (timing), and the window is narrowing,” one analyst, Singapore Management University associate professor Bridget Welsh, told Singapore’s Straits Times newspaper in a report published today.

The article noted that Malaysia’s economy is expected to expand by just three per cent next year, according to Nomura International, well below this year’s targeted 4.7 per cent growth rate and the government’s five per cent forecast.

Others have also noted that Malaysia’s rising federal debt load and over-reliance on commodity exports could see the country’s economy hit the hardest among its Southeast Asian neighbours.

Malaysia’s federal government debt, the article reported, soared by 88 per cent over the last six years to RM407 billion from RM217 billion in 2004, an outcome that would only limit spending, particularly in an environment of weaker commodity prices.

With the country’s oil and gas revenues accounting for 40 per cent of total revenue, “any fall in commodity prices will hit the government’s finances directly”.

But analysts told the ST that Najib’s administration could ill-afford further economic hardship, particularly as the prime minister — described in the report as “a risk-averse politician whose rise to the top was rooted in a play-it-safe approach” — badly needs to outperform his predecessor to prove himself.

“That is why the window of about six months that Mr Najib has been toying with is likely to narrow to three, said those close to the PM,” ST reported.

“He (Najib) had already signalled the election will be (held) soon at the recent Umno general assembly. With the uncertainty over the economy, he is likely to call it earlier,” the daily quoted an unnamed close aide as saying.

Najib sounded the election war drums during the ruling party’s annual meet last month, urging his partymen to prepare for what he dubbed as the “most critical” polls to date, adding that losing to Pakatan Rakyat (PR) would result in “tragedy”.

Analysts have said, however, that most of the country’s non-Malay voters, who make up about 40 per cent of the electoral roll, prefer the federal opposition pact while the dominant ethnic Malays are divided in their support, ST wrote.

The daily noted that Najib also faces another challenge in the coming polls — to “ensure enough of his supporters are selected as candidates… to ensure that his own position in Umno is secure”.

The candidate-selection process will be most crucial to determine this, failing which the prime minister could face internal sabotage by disgruntled members.

“Whatever the case, most analysts and government politicians acknowledge that Malaysia, post- election, is in for a bumpy ride,” the article said.

  1. #1 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 14 December 2011 - 3:04 pm

    Does NR n RM worry abt d glum economic outlook?
    “Takkan Melayu Hilang Di Dunia?”

  2. #2 by Loh on Wednesday, 14 December 2011 - 6:16 pm

    ///Abu Hassan named three groups who he said will play a crucial role in the outcome of the next general election.
    “The 21 to 40 age group who make up 68 percent of the voters (three percent of this group have already made up their minds); the Chinese community who make up 45 percent of the voters in some places; and lastly, the women bloc who have 48 to 57 percent influence in generally all the constituencies,” said Abu Hassan.///–

    Of the 68 % voters in the 21-40 age group 30% of them are Chinese and Indians. Among the Chinese 5% might still vote for MCA hoping to join the gravy train even though that amounts to selling their grandmothers for personal gains. The Indians might shockingly have 10% or more supporting MIC hoping that more little Indias might be created in addition to Brickfields where somebody clearly made easy money and the locals have to suffer the consequences. Thus one could expect 18% of the votes going against BN. Of the 48% Malays possibly 20% of them want status quo because UMNO is their source of income. The remaining 80% are no doubt aware of the rampant corruptions in the country. The issue is whether they are influenced by the call for Ketuanan Melayu even they knew very well that on balance a corrupt free government would grow the economy and the society which would return pride to them as well as breaking away from low-income trap. The country might have a chance for progress if 70% among them could be free from the shackles of race and religion inculcated by UMNO. Thus it might be possible to see Malay voters in this group who account for 25% of all voters going against BN. Together 43 % would vote for Pakatan Rakyat if 75% of Malays aged 21-40 disapproves of UMNO’s corruptions.

    Of the 32% voters who age 40 and above, 30% are non-Malays. One can expect that 80% of the Chinese and 50% of Indians would vote against Barisan National. Thus 7% of voters would go against BN. The remaining Malays aged above 40 who formed 22.4% of the voters would balance the votes if all of them support BN. Because of gerrymandering Pakatan needs at least 55% of the votes to form the majority. If one quarter of Malays above 40 years of age decides that it is time to change the fate of the nation, UMNO would become the opposition party after the general election.

  3. #3 by Loh on Wednesday, 14 December 2011 - 6:44 pm

    ///The 17 signatories sent a 10-page letter to the AG MACC and IGP detailing accusations against Taib and his family involving assets worth RM4 6 billion in Malaysia and billions of US dollars overseas spread over 85 foreign companies.///–Shannon Teoh,

    MACC should tell Malaysians why it has no clue on the matter when its job is to investigate corruptions, yet the 17 signatories seem to know more about corruptions. MACC should not only carry out investigations but also apologize for having the need to be tipped off to conduct searches which should have been its job to initiate such actions.

  4. #4 by Loh on Wednesday, 14 December 2011 - 7:09 pm

    ///To MIC central committee member KP Samy, who also leads a group of former Hindraf leaders, the feud reflects the weaknesses of the Indian leaders in Pakatan Rakyat, the opposition coalition representing PKR, DAP and PAS.
    Samy claimed that Pakatan won the support of the Indian voters thanks to the efforts of Hindraf but post-2008, nothing had been done to help the Indian community.///–

    KP Samy should perhaps ask what MIC have been able to influence UMNO all these 54 years to help the Indian community than accusing Pakatan Rakyat, which has not acquired federal authority to reverse UMNO racist policies, of willfully not helping Indian community. He has been brainwashed into racist thinking trying to champion the Indian community rather than working towards equality of all races so that deserving persons irrespective of race get government assistance, rather than becoming victims of discrimination.

    It is the philosophy of seeing immediate gains that MIC followers would support BN to get crumbs falling off UMNO tables. The statement that Hindraf made Pakatan win the 308 election shows that it is now hawking to sell its influence. One would have thought that Indians like other non-Malay communities have suffered since independence would look for justice to prevail so that a just society could emerge, in time. But Hindraf leaders considered it fit that having imagined its disproportionate influence would now claim rewards. That is how Najib rewarded Hindraf with the little India in Bricksfield. Najib is perhaps correct that Hindraf followers have been turned over.

  5. #5 by Loh on Wednesday, 14 December 2011 - 7:18 pm

    ///”History had proven that a government administration based on the teachings of Islam has never denied justice for the other communities or groups although they were from different races and religions.

    “For example, Terengganu was the first state to accept Islam, based on the discovery of the Batu Bersurat (Inscribed Stone) in Kuala Berang.

    “Since then, Islam has been the religion of the majority of the people in Terengganu but at the same time, the others are free to practise their own religion for as long as they do not jeopardise peace in the state.”

    Sultan Mizan said this at an audience with Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said, state executive councillors and members of royalty at Istana Maziah, here.///–

    Najib should follow the advice of the former Agong and he should remove all government policies and programmes which treat people believing in different religions differently. NEP should be the first to be dropped, in pursuance of the his Highness’ advice.

  6. #6 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 14 December 2011 - 9:29 pm

    ///Malaysia’s federal government debt, the article reported, soared by 88 per cent over the last six years to RM407 billion from RM217 billion in 2004….///

    Is the figure RM407 billion correct??

  7. #7 by boh-liao on Thursday, 15 December 2011 - 6:32 am

    Erecti0ns r coming, toads n transposons r very actif again, hopping n jumping
    In Pg a super hopper had declared his born-again love 4 his first party n his adimiration 4 NR n UmnoB, while condemning PR, esp PKR n DAP (What a bravado wayang!)
    What’s going on in DAP? War drums n warlords aplenty in Pg, Perak, KL, S’gor, Johor
    Eager 2 serve rakyat? Smell of easi $$, contracts, cows n condos, power n titles?

  8. #8 by k1980 on Thursday, 15 December 2011 - 7:50 am

    Did he leave PKR because he could not get himself in as the party’s candidate for Nibung Tebal in the coming 13GE?

  9. #9 by boh-liao on Thursday, 15 December 2011 - 8:00 am

    D toad wants 2 emulate a late Tun

  10. #10 by k1980 on Thursday, 15 December 2011 - 8:29 am

    Vote bn if you want health care to be privatized (and your $$$ to vanish into thin air)

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