The measure of Najib as prime minister

– Sakmongkol AK47
The Malaysian Insider
27 January 2015

I recently wrote an article “Menilai Najib”. It was reproduced in Free Malaysia Today. People commented on that. Many of the comments were not objective. Indeed most were irrational rants.

I think most of the commentators didn’t read the original article on my blog. They prefer instead to read the stylised FMT version. Accordingly, most of the comments never debated the issues I raised but chose instead to vilify me as a person.

The points I raised were (1) what made Datuk Seri Najib Razak a bad prime minister and (2) what made him a bad finance minister. I was hoping for a more robust counter. Instead, it’s the usual ad hominem attacks.

They are commenting on the article re-written and interpreted by FMT. They vented their anger. They asked who am I to assess Najib. They accused me of repeating what my “tokongs” say. Fortunately, I am immune to that kind of insulting riposte.

So don’t be angry if I refer them as mental gnomes. These include the die-hard Umno supporters and the uncle-tomming non-Malay supporters.

No one can stop anyone from saying Najib is the best PM we have had thus far. I don’t have a problem with this belief. Please continue. Najib needs support from the pliant crowd. He has an army of apple polishers and media minders to ensure the hallelujah-ing from the balcony and the gallery keep on coming.

But please accord me the freedom to also believe the opposite. And as to the claim that he is the best PM and the best FM, I can only suggest these people who make such claims, to have their heads examined by a psychiatrist.

Fortunately, I know Najib more than most of these people. I make it my business to criticise Najib’s leadership.

When I say that Najib has failed as a PM, I put up my reasoning. When I say Najib fails as a finance minister, I also do the same. The rejoinder and retort to my statements would acquire more credibility if they are in the form of reasoned arguments.

Dismissing my arguments by snide remarks and sneering do nothing to advance the credibility of counter arguments. I know for a fact that my reasoning may not be sound, but unless they are demolished by reasoned counters and rejoinders, I will maintain my belief that Najib is the worse PM we have ever had. Politically, Najib has performed worse than Pak Lah according to Dr Mahathir.

So those pro-Umno and BN people, whether you love it or hate it, learn to accept the fact that the PM is mediocre.

Leaders provide leadership first.

They articulate first and clearly about the objectives and vision of this country. Do we want a country with two legal systems? One for the Malays and Muslims and the other for non-Malays and Muslims.

You do not run a country like this unless some parts of Malaysia were ruled by another power for almost a century. Malaysia is not Hong Kong and mainland China.

Najib has failed to provide leadership to this country, give our country a clear vision and articulate the vision; he has failed to give content to this vision other than a smorgasbord of acronyms.

His grand vision of 1Malaysia has not found resonance with the people. No one understands what 1Malaysia means. To Malay firsters, 1Malaysia means Malaysia under Malay rule.

I have often asked this question; if the population of Malaysia were all Malays, there will still be differences. It’s the inability of this government that doesn’t know how to deal with the differences that is the crux of the problem.

Consider the economy of the Malays. For every single ringgit earned by the Malays as a whole, 65 sen will go to the top 20%. I am not even sure if it’s even the top 20% – it can even be the top 1-2%. In that case, the majority of Malays will never accept and kowtow to that kind of arrangement.

The presence of 24% Chinese and 11% others is both a bane and way out for the Umno people. It’s an excuse to scare the rakyat from seeing the problem as it really is. Which is, the problems we have now with social relations, breakdown of political institutions, the mess with the economy are caused by leadership incompetence and bad management of the economy.

What are the threats to 1Malaysia? The chief threat will be the unwillingness of the government to act tough. Najib hasn’t got the political will. You look at the government statistics on the population census, they clearly show that almost 90% of the towns have Malay majorities.

So the reservations and objections to having local elections are misplaced and simply wrong.

The problems as I see it are two. One – Umno cannot secure the confidence of the entire Malay community. Two, MCA cannot be depended on to secure Chinese votes.

Now, let us ask and answer honestly why MCA cannot get the confidence of the Chinese. Because the Chinese by and large see the MCA as a party driven by people who just want to secure businesses and contracts and the Chinese perceive MCA as a corrupt party.

They are thus willing to reject MCA although it’s a 100% Chinese party. The Chinese know how to object to corruption and a party who they see as being part of the problem.

So what do you have? You have the Chinese majority who are convinced they don’t want to be part of a corruption culture.

How is Najib’s lack of political will manifested? It is reflected by his romancing and flirtations with the various extremist pressure groups. They appear to dictate the government’s conduct.

Najib is just flirting with concepts without giving real commitment.

Where is our country going? The pro Umno people and the uncle-tomming non-Malays are ignoring the fact that the Malaysia is fast becoming the sick man of Asia. What does it mean to be Malaysia?

Investors are running away from Malaysia because they don’t have confidence that the present government can handle good governance. The various financial scandals plaguing the Malaysia economy are making investors nervous about putting money into Malaysia.

Najib has failed as the finance minister. We shall elaborate on this further.

Najib likes to demonstrate the soundness of the Malaysian economy by pointing out at the KLCI numbers. In his October 2014 budget speech, he likes to differentiate himself from his predecessor. Thus he starts by reminding the people that when he took office the KLCI was 884 points and in July 2014 after 5 years of taking over – the KLCI was 1892 points.

What he failed to own up was during the very month he read the Budget in Parliament the index was 1,855. Now in January 2015, it is 1,750. The numbers are going down.

Public sector debt which is debt incurred by the government which consists of official debt as stated in the 2015 Budget, contingent liabilities which are loans taken by GLCs and other government owned businesses that are guaranteed by the government, financial letters of support which carry with them financial obligations or pure financing of projects which are not documented or not captured in any documents may well reach 80% of our GDP.

I say “may” because, the government is not forthcoming and transparent when it comes to owning up. I hope the FMT journalists can discern such nuanced arguments. We are not sure for the simple reason, this government hides from us its liabilities.

In 2014, the cumulative public debt is around RM570 billion. Contingent liabilities amount to some RM170 billion.

That’s RM740 billion already. Add to this amount, the value of support letters carrying financial obligations and pure financing that are not documented- we can only assume to be another RM150 billion. That’s RM890 billion.

Given an economy of slightly more than 1 trillion – we have a public debt level of almost 80%. This is a plausible proposition appreciating the fact that household debt has already reached 87% of GDP. We are a nation of debtors – the household and the government.

Then this was this bozo who wanted to act smart by repeating that our assets are worth RM50 billion, our liabilities worth RM47 billion. Father, mother asked you to go to school, you run away – those are figures quoted by Najib about 1MDB lah – not public debt. That is another financial horror story.

We may well be staring at a government which will be printing all the Banana tree money which I used to play when I was a kid. –, January 27, 2015.

* Sakmongkol AK47 is the nom de guerre of Raub MP Datuk Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz.

  1. #1 by cskok8 on Tuesday, 27 January 2015 - 9:01 pm

    Every citizen has the right to grade Najib as we are paying his salary and CONSIDERABLE EXPENSES.

  2. #2 by Bigjoe on Wednesday, 28 January 2015 - 9:47 am

    Actually its time to reflect on what measure of Malaysians are we to have an obviously not qualified enough PM to lead us and the only people who can take him down are a couple of Octogenerians politicians with dubious track record themselves..

    Face it, how it is so many still support Najib despite the fact he is obviously not very good? Because even the elites in our country are overwhelmingly self-interested first. From the division leaders and top leaders of BN parties who chose him to maintain their own power base and business interest to the even best corporate chiefs and civil servants, they won’t rock the boat because primarily of their own self interst.

    In other words, feudalism. Simply feudalism is what keeps Najib in power and at least stagnate our society and taking us down when we need to struggle against the odds such as the current economic slowdown, corruption, breakdown in justice, social fabric..

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