Gift or Nightmare for Najib?

By Kee Thuan Chye
MSN Malaysia
7th March 2013

The ongoing Sabah crisis could turn out to be the gift Prime Minister Najib Razak was hoping for to help his Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition to victory at the impending general election, which he has yet to call, or a ticking bomb instead.

In rejecting the ceasefire proposed by the Sulu Sultan whose followers landed in Lahad Datu more than three weeks ago to reclaim Sabah as their ancestral homeland, Najib has scored much-needed positive points. Already, even his detractors have expressed support for his stand. They now declare that for once, he is saying something “sensible”, that they are agreeing with him “for the first time”.

Some, however, are saying this is “the only right thing” he has done during the whole crisis. Nonetheless, if he manages to pull off a decisive victory over the intruders, votes, especially from fence-sitters, might actually drop to BN.

But Najib has to do it before the general election has to be held, the absolute last date for which is June 28. If the crisis is not resolved before the general election, his ineffectiveness as prime minister would be exposed. He needs to win the conflict decisively, like Margaret Thatcher won the Falklands War in 1982 and went on to resuscitate her flagging popularity at the UK general election the following year.

On that score, if there was indeed a conspiracy to stage the Sabah crisis as a gamble on the part of either BN or the Opposition, Pakatan Rakyat, to influence the election outcome, it would seem to have favoured BN more than it would have Pakatan. There’s nothing like a war – or, in this case, armed conflict – to unite the people behind the Government against the common enemy. And victory would bring it even greater rewards.

On the other hand, however, the discerning ones among the electorate are aware that this is only the first time throughout the crisis that Najib is talking tough. Prior to this, his administration had approached the crisis in a manner that Malaysians found to be surprisingly too gingerly. The police instead of the army were entrusted with dealing with the situation, and talk in the form of diplomatic negotiations with the intruders rather than action to evict them characterised the first two weeks of the crisis. It was only when the intruders reportedly started shooting on March 1 that the Government was riled into action. But it cost the lives of eight Malaysian police officers that might have been saved if the Government had taken the offensive first.

This is something Najib and his government have to answer for. But more significantly, and going beyond just this crisis, is the larger reality that Sabahans are now clearly paying for the sins of the much-touted Project IC or Project M (named after ex-prime minister Mahathir Mohamad), which opened the gates for illegal immigrants, thousands of them from the same Tausug community as the Sulu intruders, to become Malaysian citizens.

This has become the biggest issue in Sabah and the focus of the ongoing Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate it. What the current crisis has invoked are the ghosts of Project IC and their potential to haunt the genuine Sabahans for a long time to come. The future for the latter will be filled with the possibility of threat arising from further aggressive forays by the Tausugs, kin of the Suluks who have now settled in Sabah as citizens.

Given this terrible uncertainty, genuine Sabahans might face the dilemma of whether to continue supporting the ruling party that has brought this upon them or to vote it out of power. If they choose the latter course, the crisis might turn out to be a nightmare for Najib instead.

* Kee Thuan Chye is the author of the bestselling book No More Bullshit, Please, We’re All Malaysians, and the latest volume, Ask for No Bullshit, Get Some More!

  1. #1 by yhsiew on Saturday, 9 March 2013 - 3:41 pm

    Najib will be a big loser if the current intrusion degenerates into a hit-and-run, long lasting guerrilla warfare.

  2. #2 by chengho on Saturday, 9 March 2013 - 4:26 pm

    Gift to Najib , suddendly people wake up and moving to ABCD

  3. #3 by drngsc on Saturday, 9 March 2013 - 4:29 pm

    Let me begin by saying that we have the utmost respect and faith in our brave soldier. The problem here is the government / politicians.
    Obviously a nightmare. Looks like it is now a PR exercise. The “insurgents” are “locals” there. Once they slip off their battle fatigues, they don civilian clothes, they are locals, they may even have blue IC to vote. So how? Of course, the army can show as many bodies as they wish, at which ever day that they wish. Dead men tell no tales. So……….. It is all a PR exercise to paint whatever they wish, and for the public to believe whatever they wish. Few believe the official view anyway. We all feel bad that brave soldiers died because of a very incompetent government / political leaders.

    We must change the tenant at Putrajaya. GE 13 is coming. Let us remove these incompetent leaders that we now have. Let us work very very hard. Every vote counts. Please get everyone eligible to vote.
    First to GE 13, then to Putrajaya.

    Change we must. Change we can. Change we shall.

  4. #4 by chengho on Saturday, 9 March 2013 - 4:37 pm

    by the way on Bloomberg interviewed recently Bro Anwar already declared , he will be the PM after GE , and no Dapters minister within his Gov , so smooth this Bro

  5. #5 by monsterball on Saturday, 9 March 2013 - 4:38 pm

    Look like a dream came true….sound like a dream came true…turns out to be a nightmare for Najib.
    Believe in Judgement Day….in Khammars ripened…in “you sow what you reap”….in “do not do to others… as you want others not to do unto you.”
    However….rouges ad thieves…cannot afford to believe in anything.
    They must keep on believing they can fool millions of Malaysians…on and on.

  6. #6 by Bigjoe on Saturday, 9 March 2013 - 5:04 pm

    Najib & UMNO/BN will wrap themselves around the heroics of this while the opposition job will be to remind Sabahan that they made the problem in the first place and more importantly, killing all the intruder does not even begin to fix the problem and maybe cause a few more..

  7. #7 by ahkmlog on Saturday, 9 March 2013 - 5:24 pm

    He maybe decisive in this episode. What about others when the time come? Will he be dilly dallying again in so many other episodes….

  8. #8 by boh-liao on Saturday, 9 March 2013 - 5:35 pm

    Of cos, dis is a God-sent moral boosting, chest thumping VICTORY 4 NR n UmnoB/BN

    Veri soon, he will command d polis n armed forces 2 hv a TRIUMPHANT parade, with UmnoB/BN banners n marching songs n dancing gals, in every major city (like Hitler’s army marching through d Brandenburg Gate) – of cos, with him n his cousin LEADING d parade – BEFORE he announces d GE13 date
    With dis V-DAY display, he n UmnoB/BN veri sure they will sapu GE13

  9. #9 by gofortruth on Saturday, 9 March 2013 - 5:36 pm

    Mahathir (the Umnoputra)has taken the Malays for a long ride into the drain and his chosen puppet Najib is only making sure that the Malays stay there so that these Umnoputras can continue to plunder & rob our nation.
    Its high time the Malays free themselves from these self serving thieves.
    Vote Pakatan Rakyat, vote for change!

  10. #10 by Loh on Saturday, 9 March 2013 - 7:16 pm

    Mahathir’s words

    Mar8th 2013 Written by chedet

    ///1. It would seem that some people are unhappy over my continued involvement in politics. As a retiree I should just retire.///–Mamakthir

    If Mamakthir has been contributing to the development of the country Malaysians would welcome his participation. Unfortunately his involvement has been detrimental to the good of the nation. Mamakthir is now known as shit-stirrer.

    ///2. I did in fact plan to retire in 1998. But events at that time forced me to defer. When the conditions in Malaysia had been stabilized after the currency crisis, I announced my retirement in 2002. But I gave the assurance that I would continue to support the party at all times as my elevation to the highest office in the country was due to the support of the party. To me it is payback time.///–Mamakthir

    Even if he had left the post in 1998, he would still have become shit-stirrer. The country could have started to heal much earlier, had a new PM, who was not AAB, took over in 1998.

    We are not sure who are making the payback; his cronies who have to settle their account after serving as a front owner for the vast wealth, or Petronas which has to provide transportation to the so-called adviser who did not really advise, as Mamakthir said it himself in his blog recently denying knowledge that his son obtained Petronas contracts.

    ///3. Unfortunately, under the policy and practices of the Government which followed, the healthy growth of the country was hampered. The effect is still felt today. More seriously the attempts to reduce the economic disparities between the races have been neglected. Although the election of 2004 resulted in overwhelming victory of the governing BN party, there were clear signs that the popularity of the Party was deteriorating after the 2004 elections.///–Mamakthir

    The government policy said to be concerned about reducing the economic disparities between races in the country is vested in Article 153 which according to the report of The Reid Commission is to be reviewed based on needs. [“quote: The Commission suggested that these provisions be revisited in 15 years, and that a report should be presented to the appropriate legislature (currently the Parliament of Malaysia) and that the “legislature should then determine either to retain or to reduce any quota or to discontinue it entirely. Unquote]

    The first opportunity for the review was in 1972, but Tun Razak decided that NEP should take precedent over Article 153, and he made constitutional amendment to that article. Tun Razak promised that NEP would be implemented for twenty years and in the memorandum to that policy document, the target of NEP fulfilment was Malays achieving 30% participation in economic activities in the country.
    It should only be logical that at the end of NEP successful conclusion in 20 years from 1971 the government should not have to be involved in tempering with the economic relationships among the races.

    Mamakthir had not conducted an impartial and professional assessment of the achievements obtained Malays in 1990, when NEP should end; he simply changed the name NEP to NDP. Mamakthir showed his refusal to honour Tun Razak’s promise with this remark at one BBC interview in the 1990s in which Mamakthir said that as there were still Malay drivers serving Chinese employers, NEP target had not been achieved.

    The statement about AAB government neglecting racial-discriminating programme is seditious. That racial-discriminating programme should have ended in 1990.

    ///4. The 2008 Election resulted in heavy losses by the BN. The Government it formed was very weak and the opposition took advantage by raising racist and religious issues. Where before there was relative harmony between the races, now there is open confrontation. Affirmative action was viciously attacked by the opposition and the Government had to give in. And now religious issues are being even more politicised.///–Mamakthir

    The open confrontation between races has often been championed by Perkasa where Mamakthir is the patron. Apart from the racist NGOs which had UMNO’s tacit support, the Home Minister even gave his blessing to the cow-head procession. The government did nothing when UMNO members called non-Malays pendatang.

    Affirmative action should have ended together with NEP had a proper accounting been made, but the complaints are not about the actions which serve the poor, but about the excuse which government utilizes of NEP in the name of enriching Malays to enrich cronies based on negotiated contracts such as the government farming projects to Syed Mokhtar Albukhary at high price and selling GLCs to him on the cheap, just to name one example.

    ///5. Clearly the opposition parties are bent on doing away with the attempt to achieve fair economic participation between the races. Without affirmative action the disparities would increase. This will not be good for Malaysian stability or economic progress.///–Mamakthir

    Mamakthir is using the threat of assumed violence when there were economic disparities between races even though there is no disturbance when some Malays are made billionaires while other Malays by the millions remain poor. May 13 was not because of economic disparities between races. The government is screening film on May 13 claiming that because of the show of jubilation based on election results some people ran amok resulting in violence. May 13 was not about the economy or any disparity between races. Mamakthir might argue that because opposition did not know how to handing winning the election, there should not be election at all!

    It should be clear to Mamakthir that any affirmative action is meant to serve as a catalyst to get the disadvantage group to begin claiming the ladder; the action cannot be a permanent elevator for some, with others having to climb the steps. Maybe Mamakthir is too racial-opportunistic to appreciate this basic concept.

    If it is true that some differences in economic success among the people of different races could destabilize the country, then it should mean that Malaysia practices communism within the Malay community so that the poor Malays have a share of the wealth such as those of Mamakthir’s family said to be worth 44 billion USD. Else Malays would be jealous of Mamakthir, more so against Mamakthir as he was not Malay until Article 160 provided him the qualification, so too is Ridhuan Tee. With Ridhuan Tee and Mamakthir accepted as Malays, who are Malay?

    People may be truly proud of his race if race classification, such as the classification of Sarawak Malay, or like the Nobel laureate, where inclusion is not arbitrary. When people are proud of thwir race, they are proud of their ability to achieve greatness. Jealousy is not the trait a proud race promotes. Mamakthir disparages Malays and he does it for the privilege he enjoys of Article 160 defining Malay.

    ///6. Although the Opposition also have a lot of Malays, it has been amply demonstrated that they cannot handle even the administration, much less the complex resolution of the disparities between the races.///–Mamakthir

    Are the Malays in the opposition inferior to Mamakthir types of Malays which are aplenty in UMNO?

    ///7. Some would say that as long as Malaysians do well, it does not matter what race they belong to. Unfortunately in Malaysia we all insist on becoming identified by our race. We all want to preserve our languages, our schools, our culture and even the environment we live in. If the Malaysians who do well are of one race and the poor are of another race, the race which is less fortunate will resent the economic disparity between them. This can lead to disunity and tensions between races. It may even lead to violence.///–Mamakthir

    The United Nations Human Rights Commission supports the preservation of language, culture as basic human rights, and they are not in conflict to their loyalty to the country which may have an official language different from their own. Citizens practicing their human rights do not automatically gang up based on race, language or religion against others. The violence that happened in the past in Malaysia was engineered by a political party refusing to let go its political power when staying on became doubtful.

    ///8. As a citizen I have every right to voice my criticism or to support action by political parties. When I find that the opposition rejects the NEP, I feel a need to voice my fears for the future of this, my beloved country.///–Mamakthir

    It is bad that Mamakthir refused to honour Tun Razak’s promise that NEP was time bound based on specified target, and he refused to conduct proper accounting in 1990, and probably ended then. He now wants to sow seeds of discontent so that race-based policy would continue forever, so that people in position of power can fool ordinary Malays into believing that the few super rich Malays are holding the wealth in the interests of poor Malays (to make them proud to be Malay) though they never had a chance to share the wealth. With the rampant corruption under the aegis of NEP, poor Malays become poorer.

    ///9. As much as my detractors have a right to object to my continued involvement in politics, I have a right to hold a different view.///–Mamakthir

    We can only hope that he will not able to continue for much longer. The sooner he is gone the better.

  11. #11 by tak tahan on Saturday, 9 March 2013 - 8:05 pm

    Najib would had lost the battle hand-downed,stripped naked,should the combat happened in an even-level battle field.Whatever strategies Najib’s highly paid PR have in store prior to the outcome of the GE13,Najis’s days are numbered.Chai chian,Acheapkor.See you next time in the opposition bench escorted by chengho as your suitcase carrier cum driver.

  12. #12 by tak tahan on Saturday, 9 March 2013 - 8:07 pm

    A gift(chengho) for najib.hahahaha

  13. #13 by monsterball on Saturday, 9 March 2013 - 8:26 pm

    Chengho talks about Bush…foreigners….how good they are.
    I wish he stays put in US and shut his gap.

  14. #14 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 9 March 2013 - 8:34 pm

    So far it looks more like gift handed by Jamlul Kiram & his hot headed brother Agbimuddin pursuing a unilateral wet dream against a state like Malaysia with army air force navy, without international support (international media hasn’t even focused on their incursion and cause – and without MNLF’s support and more importantly without his own country (Philippines)’s govt support, which has not only blocked boat/trawler reinforcements from their homeland but also now has launched an investigation against the Kirams. Even MNLF founder Misuari said he wouldn’t organise any campaign without at least 4-5,000, and here the nincompoops have tried this gamble with only 234 die hards! Tis Ok if local Sulus in Eastern Seaboard rise in comradeship to support but so far there’s evidence of this.

  15. #15 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 9 March 2013 - 8:40 pm

    Typo omission correction in preceding post- “there’s NO evidence of this…” The Kiram intruders also made terrible mistake of desecrating and mutilating fallen Malaysian security forces which makes it that much easier to label them “terrorists’ and negating both Philippines & international support. The fact that these intruders know the terrain well, camouflage within palm oil estates/jungles and blend with locals give them a temporary reprieve but how much longer? Their only hope is that our security forces make serious blunders to kill or bring harm to local innocent non combatants within this interim attrition period which will provide the opportunity to try galvanise outrage of local Sulus and secure Philippines/international support. Short of this happening, Najib is favoured by this “gift” and wins.

  16. #16 by tak tahan on Saturday, 9 March 2013 - 8:42 pm

    Probably the sultan been played out by the patented liar pee-m for brotherhood sake? History repeats as till now?

  17. #17 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 9 March 2013 - 9:22 pm

    When these group of armed intruders first landed at Lahad Datu on Feb 12 and surrounded by local police they insisted on speaking to “a prominent person”, which was denied. Who is this “prominent” person???

  18. #18 by tuahpekkong on Saturday, 9 March 2013 - 9:55 pm

    We really can’t compare our PM’s handling of the on-going Sabah crisis with Margaret Thatcher’s handling of the Falklands War in 1982. The British PM was resolute from the start whereas our PM was dilly dallying initially, preferring to negotiate a peaceful resolution. Had the armed intruders not shot at and killed several of our security personnel, tough action might not have been taken and the stand- off still persists. I don’t think his handling of the armed intruders would win him additional votes, especially when this incident also resurrects the spectre of the indiscriminate granting of citizenship to illegal immigrants which resulted in the once dominant race to become minorities in their own homeland.

  19. #19 by Loh on Saturday, 9 March 2013 - 9:57 pm

    ///This is something Najib and his government have to answer for. But more significantly, and going beyond just this crisis, is the larger reality that Sabahans are now clearly paying for the sins of the much-touted Project IC or Project M (named after ex-prime minister Mahathir Mohamad), which opened the gates for illegal immigrants, thousands of them from the same Tausug community as the Sulu intruders, to become Malaysian citizens.///–the author

    Mamakthir said that the government had not acted earlier, before two policemen were killed implying that they had bad faith, because the intruders have families and relatives in Sabah, and that they were Muslims. Was the authority offering them instant citizenship for their reunion to their families before they showed bad faith? Was religion the factor forcing the government not to act? When have we heard a country ascertaining the religion of the enemy before she acts, and what if they are of mixed religious belief among the intruders? Is the government adopting religious discriminatory policy in defence?

    How can the police differentiate between the intruders and the instant Tausug Malaysians? The few dozens remaining intruders can easily join their families, Mamakthir said that they are there, and will not surrender. The mission to weed out intruders will go on, even beyond 28 June 2013. Would the election be decided by the rest of Malaysia forfeiting the right of citizens in the security area? A parliamentary session should be called to agree on that else there will be ‘hung parliament’ when there is no clear majority without results from the security area, covering half of Sabah. Perhaps that is the gift to Najib to declare that election has to await victorious outcome of the Lahad Datu operation.

  20. #20 by Loh on Saturday, 9 March 2013 - 10:07 pm

    ///The prime minister said the Barisan Nasional (BN) government had never directed members of the security forces to stage any drama but instead ordered them to defend and protect the country’s sovereignty.

    “Just think whether we can find actors who are willing to die in their act? Are there anyone who wants to volunteer to die?

    “I believe no one is willing to do such an act,” Najib (picture) said in his speech at the official opening of the Federal Tower at the Melaka International Trade Centre (MITC) in Ayer Keroh here today.///–MalaysianInsider

    Obviously people taking part in any drama do not want to die, or even expect to. But accidents do happen in drama performance.

  21. #21 by monsterball on Saturday, 9 March 2013 - 10:33 pm

    It look like a gift…a good reason to divert attentions and declare Emergency Rule…no 13th GE.
    Then it turned to be a nightmare….first with Mahathir saying…. the delay to and swift..with his usual race and religion nonsense excuses.
    As for Najib …his silence and no actions….where his cousin and godfather spoke and acted…as if Najib is freaking out…..shivering….saw a ghost…don’t know what to do…for days.

  22. #22 by monsterball on Saturday, 9 March 2013 - 10:59 pm

    Najib must win big….with a clear majority…at 13th GE.
    He has till 11th March…to declare 13th GE.
    The delay…till the last day ….being an appointed PM…a show dog….speaks volumes of his confidence..who he is…what he is.

  23. #23 by boh-liao on Sunday, 10 March 2013 - 12:19 am

    ALAMAK, NR n his cabinet n MPs n ADUN – all still can pakai aaah? Oredi past their “Use by Date”, sudah EXPIRED!

    Y no date 4 GE13? Does it mean NR n RM need more time 2 PACK their bags n TA PAU their $$$, handbags n diamond rings, JUST in case evicted fr P’jaya by ABU-minded rakyat

  24. #24 by john on Sunday, 10 March 2013 - 12:38 am

    No, this ‘small scale’ crisis has already shown that these ‘leaders’ are incompetence in the job and post ! And has become a norm, as always they’ll ‘twist’ to say ( thro’ MSM ) otherwise and no accountability at all.
    Very glaring mistake, after the start ( as the army not on hand ) is the ARMY to be called in immediately !
    Our men in arms are competent but not these ‘leaders’ ! KRIS guy is in his post cos’ of one criteria – is C4 cousin, so his only trusted one. And was the first one there cos’ of this one criteria – at the end, proven KRIS failed miserably, just fade away ! ( actually what he had done ??? scr*wed up instead ! )

  25. #25 by boh-liao on Sunday, 10 March 2013 - 12:47 am

    Oredi got a NIGHTMARE in d form of a C4 blown-out Mongolian SPECTRE, now ADDITIONAL NEW nightmares piling up, including ful of sai’s @hole n father

  26. #26 by Noble House on Sunday, 10 March 2013 - 1:03 am

    Najib may find himself landed up with more than he can handle carrying the ticking time bomb with him. Even if UMNO managed a decisive win from this sad episode, the credit will not go to him, only the blame! He can only take a temporary refuge from the actual events taking place around him. When the ticking stopped, the truth will then be known. And Malaysians are the ones to bear the losses of this outcome.

  27. #27 by yhsiew on Sunday, 10 March 2013 - 1:48 am

    Many of the people in the fighting areas praised Najib when they met him. This is why Najib refused to have an emergency meeting with the Opposition lest the latter robbed of his “hard earned” credit!

  28. #28 by Bigjoe on Sunday, 10 March 2013 - 7:42 am

    Filipino refugees are reporting abuses by forces – they are not even identifying people, just profiling and even then abusing their power using unnecessary force and firing without cause AND even at the innocent.

  29. #29 by yhsiew on Sunday, 10 March 2013 - 7:49 am

    Has become illegitimate Pee-M from 9 March 2013 after 5 full years of tenure???

  30. #30 by Winston on Sunday, 10 March 2013 - 9:26 am

    Well, well, well!
    Some Malaysians seem to think that someone who has always been a zero has become a hero!
    Because he has reacted “positively” to the situation in Sabah.
    Well, for a start, the reaction came very late and it was just a reaction.
    By right, it should have been a prevention, not reaction!
    Why must Sabah be allowed to be treated like the invaders’ backyard?
    That’s the first question.
    The second question is: If the situation really turns from push to shove, wouldn’t the illegals legalised by Mamak be a real threat to this country?
    The third question is: There were reports of Manila investigating the opposition for instigating the whole incident; don’t Malaysians smelt a rat somewhere?
    The fourth question is: Isn’t it very surprising that this whole incident came right on the eve of the GE?
    A GE that puts UMNO/BN in a very precarious position.
    The fifth question is: Would all this hype wipe off all the corruption, scams and scandals of UMNO/BN for the last five and an half decades?
    Malaysians should answer all these questions BEFORE adjudicating that he has turned from zero to hero!!!!

  31. #31 by boh-liao on Sunday, 10 March 2013 - 10:55 am

    LISTEN (3X) ….. NR n UmnoB/BN can TREAT Sabah anyhow they like, NO PROBLEM 1 what, cos Sabah n Sarawak r UmnoB/BN’s FIXED deposits mah, always LOYAL 2 UmnoB/BN 1

  32. #32 by chengho on Sunday, 10 March 2013 - 1:05 pm

    ABCD; MCA the middle way for middle kingdom

  33. #33 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 10 March 2013 - 5:23 pm

    This is bad-the kind of thing (violation of human rights) that can turn the table of legal/moral legitimacy that we so far have, against us in the court of public & international opinion

  34. #34 by PoliticoKat on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 - 3:46 pm

    GIFT, definitely a gift.

    Now BN can declare an Emergency, suspend election and manufacture… um I mean “discover” evidence that the Malaysia’s opposition parties are part of the axis of Evil bent on conquering the WORLD and destroying Malaysia.

    Thankfully UMNO/BN and Najib managed to handle this problem just in time.

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