Najib sticks it to nemisis Mahathir with twin byelection victories

Amanda Hodge
The Australian
JUNE 20, 2016

The party of Malaysia’s scandal-tainted Prime Minister Najib Razak has won two by-elections in a landslide, further strengthening his rule despite corruption allegations.

Malaysia’s Teflon-coated Prime Minister Najib Razak has claimed a key victory over political mentor-turned foe Mahathir Mohamad with landslide wins in two weekend by-elections.

Mr Najib has survived not only an international scandal over an alleged misappropriation of ­billions from his pet 1MDB state development fund, but also allegations he profited by as much as $US1 billion from the fund, which he denies.

Mr Najib’s Barison Nasional coalition held the west coast seats of Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar on Saturday with increased majorities. Though the victories were expected, the by-elections had been billed as a test of Mr Najib’s ability to lead the party, which has ruled Malaysia for 57 years, back into government at the general election.

On Saturday night, Mr Najib took aim at Dr Mahathir, who referred to the Prime Minister as the “Idi Amin of Malaysia”.

“He called me the Idi Amin of Malaysia. (Well) the Idi Amin of Malaysia is more popular,” Mr Najib told party loyalists.

In a later statement, he said his party had won the by-­elections despite a campaign of “unprecedented politically ­motivated slander”.

“Tun Mahathir turned the elections into a referendum on my leadership,” he said. “He campaigned for his ­former ­enemies in the opposition, dishonourably smearing his own party with crude language and claiming to speak on behalf of the people. But his betrayal was motivated by personal interest, not the national interest.”

Malaysians “rejected Tun Mahathir’s lies” and his “unworkable coalition of former ­enemies”, he added.

Dr Mahathir, Malaysia’s longest-serving prime minster, quit the ruling United Malay Nat­ional Organisation earlier this year over Mr Najib’s refusal to step aside over the 1MDB scandal, which is the subject of six international investigations.

He has since led a coalition of former political enemies from the Left and Centre in a bid to raise popular anger over the scandal ahead of the next ­general election, which must be held by 2018.

It doesn’t appear to be working. Last month, BN also secured a landslide win in Sarawak state elections, where Mr Nijab campaigned heavily and pledged ­billions in largesse.

The consecutive wins have raised speculation Mr Najib will call a snap poll to consolidate and capitalise on the ­apparently waning influence of the once all-powerful Dr Mahathir.

The coalition lost its two-third majority in the 2008 polls, and Mr Najib lost the popular vote in 2013 although his government retained power.

Dr Mahathir’s Save Malaysia coalition hopes to collect a ­million signatures for its Citizen’s Declaration seeking the intervention of the country’s sultans. But the alliance, which includes the main opposition People’s Justice Party (PKR) led by Dr Mahathir’s former deputy Anwar Ibrahim, is under increasing strain.

Mr Anwar was jailed towards the end of Dr Mahathir’s 22-year tenure as prime minister on what many believed were politically motivated charges of sodomy, and is now serving a second ­sodomy sentence.

While Mr Anwar had earlier given his blessing for the PKR to work with Dr Mahathir, he ­reportedly sent a private letter from jail last month warning a senior PKR leader not to get too close to the former strongman.

  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Monday, 20 June 2016 - 8:58 am

    While its heartbreaking to see feudalistic politics win over liberal democracy, I say the worst result of the by -election is claims in the defense of Hadi’s PAS and criticism on Amanah. All the talk that PAS managed to defend its rural area, that Amanah has failed this and that..

    The result of the by-election is obvious, Hadi’s PAS strategy is a failure electorally. They garnered less votes than PRE-Pakatan days and Amanah success was limited by damage caused by Hadi’s PAS as the Chinese voters deserted Pakatan Harapan too..

    PAS will definitely lose Kelantan unless Najib and UMNO decides to keep them relevant so they can keep damaging opposition..

    Its insane dysfunctionality. Its communal self-loathing and hateful..

  2. #2 by Bigjoe on Monday, 20 June 2016 - 9:41 am

    Bottom line – Hadi’s PAS handed BN victory to Najib’s PAS – ITS ALL HADI’S PAS FAULT..

  3. #3 by SuperString on Monday, 20 June 2016 - 12:27 pm

    With the good showing from the 2 by-election, Najib must quickly take this good omen to call a snap election because the longer the delay, more time for opposition to re-group plus the overseas investigators will review more lowdown on the 1MDB/Donation/Rosmah & Son expensive shopping affairs.

  4. #4 by boh-liao on Monday, 20 June 2016 - 6:37 pm

    MMK is certainly d root cause of our current sad state: $$$ politics, lies n more lies, castration of d royal, legislative, executive n judicial systems, massive open corruption, degradation of our education system, unaccountable deaths, etc etc

    AhCheat is getting more powerful n can do NO wrong
    He is at his best now n SHOULD just go 4 a SNAP erection 2 capitalise on his popularity n invincibility, as well as on d weaknesses of d fallen-apart Pakatan

    UmnoB/BN will certainly regain Selangor, Penang, n Kelantan states, plus >2/3 majority seats of d Parliament

    Dis is d most auspicious time – d economy is down (rakyat tend 2 cling 2 d ruling political parties), MMK well beaten, AI in jail, opposition parties all farked up, non-Malays learnt their lessons n r returning 2 d generous + juicy bosoms of UmnoB/BN with their tails between their legs (no worries now, can insult them again by asking “Apa lagi Cina/India mahu?”), his star n his char bor’s star r shining bright n rising fast

    What more is needed indeed? JUST DO IT n exterminate/annihilate ONCE n FOR ALL d pesky self imploding Pakatan parties

  5. #5 by boh-liao on Monday, 20 June 2016 - 6:47 pm

    MMK n Moo must b very ENVIOUS of AhCheat’s magical leadership n awesome tight grip on d nation, voters, n electoral system

  6. #6 by simnsim on Monday, 20 June 2016 - 7:08 pm

    Money politic has all the while being there. Why the result differ now. Is there something we dare not face up? Like the frequent infighting which really disappoint us. Is winning the the government more important or your principle is more important. Stop justifying your failure in the recent 2 by election and start facing up the reality.

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