The decline and fall of Najib

Mariam Mokhtar | February 8, 2013
Free Malaysia Today

The prime minister had the perfect opportunity to act, but he neglected to do so. Consumed by greed and power, like many politicians in Malaysia, he looked the other way.


As soon as Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak announces the date for 13th general election, it will probably sound his political death knell.

For the benefit of the rakyat, and in front of the television cameras and news photographers, Najib and his Cabinet present a united front; but behind the scenes, another story emerges.

Damaging leaks about the shortcomings of his leadership continue to undermine Najib. His grip on the party is tenuous. His strongest ally, the self-styled First Lady Rosmah Mansor, will do her utmost to ensure he succeeds.

Last month, the independent organisation, the Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research, found that Najib had high popularity ratings of 63% among voters in Peninsular Malaysia.

For the sake of “completeness”, why not a survey among voters in Sabah and also, Sarawak? It would have been interesting to gauge Najib’s popularity in Sabah, before and during the proceedings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) for Sabah.

If the same survey had been conducted among ministers in Najib’s own Cabinet, the results would be a good gauge of their confidence in his leadership.

The war that is being waged against Najib is on two fronts – he has to defend himself against the opposition and fight off guerrilla raids from invisible enemies, within Umno.

Najib, the son of Malaysia’s second prime minister, has had a poor grounding in life. Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, he is only exposed to the suffering of the rakyat, in the months before election. To alleviate their pain, Najib distributes bags of rice and food, and tars their roads, rather than sorting out the issues which have plagued the people, over the past five years.

The prime minister’s privileged schooling is denied to the ordinary Malaysian. Najib may have been a product of a mission school, but mission schools are dying a slow death, deprived of money and support from the Education Ministry.

In his secondary schooling at Malvern College, a Church of England school, Najib would have attended daily chapel services, compulsory Sunday service, Remembrance Sunday, and Carol services in the Christmas term.

Najib has remained a Muslim despite attending these services, but he would have gained a thorough understanding of Christianity. Despite that, he has said nothing to persuade the extremists in Malaysia to practise tolerance and moderation.

He missed the chance

What can one expect from a career politician? When he defended his father’s seat, which had become vacant on his death, he won, presumably because of the sympathy votes.

How can a man who has not experienced the perils faced by the unskilled worker, the struggling graduate, working man and father know what it is like to live in Malaysia, where house prices are beyond most people’s reach, where car prices are jacked up, where justice is sold to the highest bidder and where most services require a sweetener? Najib’s education has not been put to good use to help his fellow Malaysian.

This privileged son of a former premier has been in politics for almost 37 years. Those years have been marred by scandal and sexual intrigue. They have been stained by corruption and murder. The highlights are excesses and abuse of power. Najib started his premiership by betraying the Perak people. He claimed that he would tackle corruption but became deeply embroiled in it, himself.

When he became prime minister, Najib portrayed himself as a moderate, and his calls for moderation won praise from the delegates at the UN’s 65th General Assembly. The hollowness of his claims could damn him at the polls because he failed to take any action against Ibrahim Ali, the leader of a right-wing extremist Malay NGO, when he announced that he would torch Malay language Bibles.

Some quarters say that Najib’s weakness stems from his lack of control over his wife’s behaviour and spending habits. This is a disservice to women. What has a man’s poor leadership qualities got to do with his ability to “control” his wife? Do some Malaysian men marry to exert control?

When Najib announced his “1-Malaysia” slogan, Muhyiddin Yassin, his deputy, was among the first to stick a knife into him, thus precipitating further murmurings of dissatisfaction within Umno.

Perhaps, his only solace was to go abroad, which he did with increasing regularity. This did not endear him to the rakyat, as problems were mounting at home, and remained unresolved.

Embattled by dissatisfied and equally power-hungry Umno politicians, Najib found that he also had to dodge the master tactician, the former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad. With a legacy to protect and a dynasty to propagate, Mahathir has already hinted that Najib should step down and hand over power to Muhyiddin.

The knives are already being sharpened in Putrajaya and Umno MPs are probably stoked up and on red alert, awaiting their orders, not from Najib, but from Mahathir. No other politician has perfected the art of treachery and vindictiveness, like the weasel Mahathir.

When Najib came to power, the country was sliding in many aspects: corruption, national debt, illegal immigration, unemployment among graduates, violence, crime, racist attacks, religious intolerance.

The prime minister had the perfect opportunity to act, but he neglected to do so. Consumed by greed and power, like many politicians in Malaysia, he looked the other way.

It was said that Mahathir would allow his ministers and cronies to be corrupt, so that he would have a “hold” over them and demand favours from them, in the future.

Najib is aware that the rakyat is consumed with hate for Mahathir. He knows that this country has lost faith in its once trusted institutions, and crucially, in itself.

Najib could have used the rakyat’s venom to regain the nation’s trust in its politicians, but he misused this chance.

Najib had the power to change things around and save Malaysia, but he fell prey to avarice and temptation. The “1Malaysia” that he governs is far less united than the Malaya that he was born into.

That is why, come GE13, it is the rakyat who will have to drag itself out of its apathy and make that change happen – for ourselves, our children and for the country.

  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Friday, 8 February 2013 - 11:21 pm

    When you vote UMNO/BN in this GE you are

    1) Voting for ‘Malay First’, ‘our education is one of the best’, and of course ‘LGE is jealous’, Muhiyiddin.

    2) You are saying – its OK to steal your right to vote, your very citizentry, and your serfdom to UMNO/BN.

  2. #2 by good coolie on Friday, 8 February 2013 - 11:41 pm

    That Dr. Mahatir seems fit enough to become PM again.

  3. #3 by drngsc on Saturday, 9 February 2013 - 12:09 am

    Dear Malaysians, Let us change the tenant at Putrajaya, by defeating them thru the ballot box. BUT BUT, no gloating please. We must NOT be arrogant. Please remain humble. Let him fall on the many swords put out by his many opponents in his own party. When the victory is announced, please be magnanimous and humble. For a better Malaysia. For now, let us not be over confident. Keep doing the hard work of winning voters, until the GE 13 results is known. Keep up the hard work.

    We must change the tenant at Putrajaya. GE 13 is coming soon. We are near the winning line. Please keep up the hard work. First to GE 13, then to Putrajaya.

    Change we must. Change we can. Change we will.

  4. #4 by Noble House on Saturday, 9 February 2013 - 3:31 am

    Only two things that matter to those in UMNO – Power and Money! Nothing else comes to mind.

  5. #5 by boh-liao on Saturday, 9 February 2013 - 6:41 am

    NR, RM, NYY n UmnoB/BN all ready 2 HORSE around d decadence n hot women of Gangnam

  6. #6 by mickeytiger2006 on Saturday, 9 February 2013 - 8:16 am

    The only hope for Msia is to elect Anwar as PM so that all corrupted BN/Unmo can be brought to justice!

  7. #7 by waterfrontcoolie on Saturday, 9 February 2013 - 8:33 am

    The PM’s behaviour can only be explained on the basis that after over 30 years of wanton OPEN Corruption, they can still continue to do so as Malaysians “senang lupa” as described by Siapa-Nama! They still believe in the world of Facebook and IPAD, the badly educated younger generation will still buy their sales. In Egypt, it was the action of a Young man who started it through the Facebook to bring down Mubarak! But here they though they were so entrenched, nothing will shake them hence their continuation of open corruptions like the sub-gate, Cow-gate, Defence-padang -gate, Sybas-Gate etc! Otherwise, he could have asked his Gang for a pause before the 13th GE. No, we will get our 2/3 and then take the nation for another round of business as usual! This is their Physe all along! Let’s all wait if the MAJORITTY of Malaysians are still traditional suckers!

  8. #8 by yhsiew on Saturday, 9 February 2013 - 8:52 am

    The decline of Najib started when he made a U-turn and gave in to Umno right-wingers after the New Economic Model was unveiled.

  9. #9 by kg on Saturday, 9 February 2013 - 8:52 am

    Waaaaaaaaaa, he is on free fall since 308, not touching the ground yet, sooooo deeeeeeep

  10. #10 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 9 February 2013 - 9:18 am

    The “weakness” was there right at beginning when he took over mantle of leadership. It is because he was anointed to succeed by our King Maker who (after stepping down) still controls who takes over from who (as successor) and who’s the successor to successor in that line up for as long as he lives – therefore, the courage those who, thinking they have support of the King Maker, to openly contradict him in respect of his 1 Malaysia Platform as well as his tentative steps to deconstruct some aspects of NEP by his financial liberalization policies even at the beginning of his leadership. The political culture of factionalism and infighting is a bane to UMNO all these years. (Kingmaker himself had rid of 3 deputies during his time). It remains to been seen whether this time around this factionalism & infighting will be a tipping point against BN’s continued rule in the coming GE.

  11. #11 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 9 February 2013 - 9:37 am

    This political culture (with strong feudal aspects) is debilitative. It lowers the bar of standard of politicians on both sides of political divide. It proceeds on the thinking that high political/public office together with honorific titles should be sought to obtain power and prestige, and with power and prestige, the requisite influence and ability to corner coveted opportunities (whether in licences, monopolies and contracts in business/trades) to amass wealth for one’s his/her family’s or cronies’ financial & business betterment. It is not for public benefit, though that’s the outward pretense, much less the imperative to make a difference for the better for one’s country, the region or better world. I wonder whether being wealthy should be prequalification for being a politician to raise the bar on standards. For then the aim in going or ascending in politics is not solely to make money that he already has in abundance. When John F Kennedy became 35th American president he was already a multi-millionaire from inherited wealth. So he got his kicks (besides Marilyn Monroe) more from trying to achieve security for the nation in the Cuban missile crisis, lifting sights by sending a man to the moon, promotion of human rights by ending segregation in schools and interstate travel facilities rather how to make money from govt’s contracts and licences.

  12. #12 by mickeytiger2006 on Saturday, 9 February 2013 - 9:49 am

    Charged this mamak for abuse of power, corruption, nepotism, racialism, croyism, lying, fraud, misuse of funds and crime against humanity when BN/Umno is voted of out power!

  13. #13 by lee tai king (previously dagen) on Saturday, 9 February 2013 - 10:37 am

    End of the road for umno. Jib is already a goner. Sabah and johore will seal umno’s (& that means BN’s) coffin.

    Or Or Or
    Orgy Umno Style.
    Ohhhh sexy umno.

  14. #14 by chengho on Saturday, 9 February 2013 - 4:29 pm

    GE13 is a vote between Malay vs Malaysian chinese eh

  15. #15 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Saturday, 9 February 2013 - 6:09 pm

    Weasel words from Mahathir: ” Ignore Deepak”

    Deepak: Ignore me if you can!

  16. #16 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Saturday, 9 February 2013 - 6:14 pm

    mahathir seems always to get in the first words, second and third words….et alii…and the last word.

    mariam, these are great weasel words too from the Grand Weasel!

  17. #17 by sotong on Saturday, 9 February 2013 - 6:28 pm

    Millions of illegals are given ICs in secrecy…..can you trust this traitor to be fair, let alone your future as an ordinary person with ordinary aspirations?

    One person cannot carry out such a huge operation for so long.

  18. #18 by Noble House on Sunday, 10 February 2013 - 12:19 am

    GE13 is a vote between the true Malays vs the ‘faked’ Malays the UMNO government brought in to replace them. Malaysian Chinese will stand by their true blooded Malay brothers and sisters.

  19. #19 by raven77 on Sunday, 10 February 2013 - 12:53 am

    The unelected Prime Minister who clings on to power only does so because he knows without these strings of power he will end up on the sidelines, in jail or in exile. The murder of the Mongolian girl is horrible taint on Malaysia.

    Malaysians must grit themselves and must get this government out which has bred a corrupt government with an extremely corrupt civil service and judiciary that has brought much pain to people on the ground.

    A simple double storey house costing close to a million ringgit in KL completely boggles the mind. If you cant even house your citizens, what the heck do you want to be PM for?????

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