Najib’s Afraid of Losing His Job

By Kee Thuan Chye

I stand corrected for predicting that Prime Minister Najib Razak would dissolve Parliament on March 26 to allow for the 13th general election to be held in mid-April. I had thought he would be man enough to do it.

It is unclear now when he will make the much-awaited move to face the people’s decision as to whether they want to retain his Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition as the government or consign it to the Opposition benches. He could also wait for Parliament to automatically dissolve on April 28.

In fact, the Negeri Sembilan State Assembly has already been automatically dissolved – as its five-year term ended on March 27. The next state assembly to follow suit is the Pahang one on April 7.

Najib’s delay does not look good for him as it shows a lack of confidence. Already, many are calling him “coward” on social media. In contrast to the Opposition’s push forward by first unveiling its manifesto way ahead and DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang’s daring declaration of standing in the Gelang Patah parliamentary constituency in Johor, the bastion of BN, followed by DAP MP Liew Chin Tong being moved from Penang to a yet-unnamed seat also in Johor, Najib’s inaction is a sign of weakness.

To make it worse, BN’s Penang state chief, Teng Chang Yeow, has been dared by DAP secretary-general and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to face him in the Padang Kota state seat. If he declines, he might be called “coward” too. And BN can’t afford to have too many of these in its leadership.

Meanwhile, what Najib has done in an obviously desperate measure to win votes is going around throwing money and goodies at people – first, at the military, the police and the civil service; then at the employees of Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) and Telekom Malaysia; and lately at the staff of seven statutory bodies. He has also been promising that if BN continues as government, it will dish out more money to the rakyat. The BR1M (Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia) RM500 handout could become RM1,000.

No wonder a Singapore Straits Times editor, Reme Ahmad, was prompted to call such tactics “Santa Claus politics”. He also pointed out that handouts would not necessarily ensure votes for the giver because the “harsh reality is the more you give, the more people want”. And “the freebies have to be paid for by somebody down the line”.

Most telling is his point that Malaysia is now into its 16th year carrying a budget deficit since the 1997 Asian financial crisis. As such, he thinks that the tax revenue that could have been better spent for development purposes may instead be used to fulfil campaign promises.

“In other words,” he says, “they will be paid for by the same voters who thought they got them for free.”

Negeri Sembilan caretaker Menteri Besar Mohamad Hasan has tried to justify Najib’s lack of action and resolve to call for elections by saying the automatic dissolution of Parliament should be made a common practice. This, he reasons, is because it will prevent speculation on the election date, which could make investors hold back their investment decisions. He also opines that if a government were allowed to serve its full term, that would help it develop the country without interruption.

That kind of talk serves no purpose because our system is not specifically designed for governments to serve full terms. At the same time, Mohamad Hasan should note that it is actually Najib’s indecisiveness that has encouraged the unnecessary speculation and investor hesitancy.

Obviously, his was a spin one could foresee even before he said a word. It belongs in the same rubbish bin as former Selangor Menteri Besar Mohd Khir Toyo’s praise for Najib for choosing to serve the full term and “abandon his privilege to call for a snap election”.

Najib is not opting for that by choice. He’s simply afraid of doing badly at the polls and even losing. Even winning it but with a reduced majority could cost him his job. He has openly admitted that. And it doesn’t help his cause that ex-prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has rubbed it in by saying the same thing.

Be that as it may, the prime minister has to call the shots. If he doesn’t, everyone will be kept in abeyance, including investors. Win or lose, it’s all part of the democratic game. And Najib has to learn to play it fair and square.

* 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 Bigjoe on Saturday, 30 March 2013 - 5:33 pm

    There is only one problem.. Najib WILL LOSE HIS JOB. Mahathir pretty much said it already..Najib is not that dumb to not know it is the end for him EVEN if he commit treason by having millions of illegal immigrant vote for him. The top leaders of UMNO/BN knows and knows it can’t be repeated and change have to be done..

    Its more likely that Najib is preparing for his post-office..

  2. #2 by cskok8 on Saturday, 30 March 2013 - 6:51 pm

    According to the STAR he is “prepared to take any measures necessary to have simultaneous elections and at a time of his choosing.”

    That is so hilarious. He is running out of time.

  3. #3 by 1elderly voter on Saturday, 30 March 2013 - 6:55 pm

    Ahjibbkhor is not only a coward, to elderly voters, he is an evil man. He single-handedly has rob many elderly voters their chance to vote in the mother of all elections. To us elderly voters, whoever wins is not as important as being able to vote in the 13th GE. This may be our last one. Please Ahjibbkhor do what you are obliged to do more than 2 years ago and call for the much awaited election. The more you delay the more we elderly voters will not vote for you. Got it into your thick skull. OMG they will be a lot of elderly voters going to the happy hunting ground before the evil ahjibbkhor makes up is flickering mind. I hope I can last till then and see them be ABU off.

  4. #4 by yhsiew on Saturday, 30 March 2013 - 7:27 pm

    ///he thinks that the tax revenue that could have been better spent for development purposes may instead be used to fulfil campaign promises.///

    How dare he use public fund for personal gain – to keep HIMSELF in power.

  5. #5 by chengho on Saturday, 30 March 2013 - 10:20 pm

    Long march strategy, frustrate your opponent , make them sleepless

  6. #6 by bennymat7 on Saturday, 30 March 2013 - 11:29 pm

    We need a Pakatan Government like yesterday.
    Imagine if we STOP the raping & looting of our Nations wealth by deceitful Men like Mamak MahaTHIEF & CM Taib Mahmud ,how many hospitals,ambulances, home visits by Nurses for our Elderly can be provided. The subsidies for petrol & essentials,libraries, care for the disabled & needy and a higher std of living for all can then be achieved.
    Malaysia cannot afford to have another dose of the venom from the Grand Mamak who see Petronas like his own Company & personal bank account for him and his Sons to enrich themselves,
    It stinks to high heaven and is the delay in calling GE a plan to make sure all the ‘Phantom Ghost voters’ & ‘Cheating Fraudulent postal votes’ are in place to ensure victory.
    A Government winning by cheating will not have the respect & trust of the Rakyat and will fail eventually.

  7. #7 by monsterball on Sunday, 31 March 2013 - 1:54 am

    A long march does make crooks having sleepless nights.

  8. #8 by Noble House on Sunday, 31 March 2013 - 4:38 am

    Logic and common sense would suggest that if BN had been confident of victory, Najib would have called for election. It is no coincidence that we hear of the daily public announcement of a deal involving the taxpayers’ money. The critical question is: what is the necessary parliamentary approval for BR1M and other payments doled out by Santa Claus Najib? It is clearly distributed for blatant electoral purposes which can only worsen the already mounting national debt.

  9. #9 by Noble House on Sunday, 31 March 2013 - 4:44 am

    Long march strategy? No great wall here, only uneven roads, riddled with potholes everywhere!

  10. #10 by Jim55 on Sunday, 31 March 2013 - 11:11 am

    There’s nothing to be happy about even if Najib were to dish out BR1M of RM1K per family for those qualified (if BN continues to be the govt of the day) simply becoz the implementation of GST and taking away or a cut in petrol subsidy thereafter will impact every Msian across the board and the poor will be affected badly.

    Prices of all daily necessities will shoot up and no one can escape. It will be too late for the poor to cry foul!

    Hence, to pre-empt this calamity, we need to ABU…

  11. #11 by cseng on Sunday, 31 March 2013 - 12:02 pm

    Teng Chang Yaw suffers ‘ridzuan tee’ syndrome.

    How could Gelakan leader, stands in Penang, initiate a challenge LGE. Now want to dodge a ‘challenge accepted’ at leveled ground in Padang Kota. Plan a un-level ground, hiding inside Umno’s sarong seat, still call that a challenge?

    Teng is now a new breed of ‘ridzuan tee’ of Penang. They could not survive on their fooy, parasiting on umno style of Malay agenda.

  12. #12 by Sallang on Sunday, 31 March 2013 - 1:10 pm

    “Najib’s Afraid of Losing His Job”

    Why have this fear? All the previous PMs also lost their job, either by stepping down, or be forced to step down.Our present non elected PM, if wants to continue to be PM, call for elections lah!
    A simple analogy, if a singer wants to be popular, make sure you win in a singing competition, like Shila Amzah. Her winning song, was in Mandarin, considered to be to her disadvantage, but the judges gave her a standing ovation.

  13. #13 by omeqiu on Sunday, 31 March 2013 - 2:43 pm

    “I stand corrected for predicting that Prime Minister Najib Razak would dissolve Parliament on March 26…” No harm done. Every informed analyst, man on the street, gamblers…can predict that day. You failed this time. Perhaps you will be more cautious next time!

  14. #14 by lee tai king (previously dagen) on Sunday, 31 March 2013 - 4:53 pm

    Jib’s long and PAINFUL march to oblivion.

    Yeah ur right chengho.

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